Muslim Neighbor


Trying to ride out this newfound freedom,

All your homophobia coalesces into something


Beyond your control, skyscraper erections going

Against zoning regulations – gotta keep this city pure!


Pigeons don’t shit on our heads near as much

Here, yet I feel distinctly urban, yelling profanity


At your recalcitrant father who never approves

And your mother who cries silently to herself.


If anything changes here it’s the movements

Of your body while the call to prayer sounds


Outside, away from what drives your soul

To stakes inside itself, conflicting directions


And rendering your heart null and void

Like our marriage ceremony yesterday,


Performed at a progressive church

Shot down in Houellebecq’s France


(Lovely weather for some murders.)

If you had died I don’t know what


I would have done – immolation

The closest bet if I gambled


(But neither of us place bets anymore

After that time your parents threw


A Qur’an at your face and the

Embroidery etched a marking


Your face held even as you told your friends

The next day that your face had been


Irreparably sabered.) God – your parents

Didn’t know you did more than gambled


With me that night after we read the sura

Together and cried because we found a


Point of connection between us.

(Our lower points connecting us from then on.)


It was Medinan of course but that wasn’t the point;

What you tried to tell me on the cruise after your


First big break, that I take in too much

(I am foremost the receiver but that’s also not the point.)


At the expense of my friends and family

And that we can’t leave our families behind us


As if we exist in separate universes,

(Theirs being more spacious and green


And ours being an eternal hell where

Tantalus sodomizes us endlessly


While holding food in front of our faces.

[Expansive palettes still exist in hell.])


Leads me to say that

There’s a place between belief and acceptance,


And, once your parents get the memo,

Tell them to meet us there in a peace


That passes all understanding like Christ,

Your mother’s and my favorite prophet.




Blake Wallin is a recent Wheaton College alumnus who plans on working and gettng his MFA within the next couple of years.



Cover Photo: Bulent Mourad (