One of the ninety-nine names of God
Yours is the name of God that comes most easily to me—
God holy, pure, perfect as geometry, that which is set apart.
God to whom I pray, though I deserve no favors.
And would you, Ya-Quddus, whom I simply call God, Lord,
bargain with my heart for life? As other from human as ether,
would you turn your non-self, whole self, toward my voice?
I stand in a circle of women chanting your name.
No, begging your name. Swimming in your strange indigo.
Our voices ring out like copper prayer bowls.
Refined one, breathe yourself into my spoiled body,
my body bitter as rind, which I am trying so hard to love.
Like steam, draw out the stains in my bones and lungs.
Let me feel whatever it is you are (since I can never know),
The Image archive is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.