August 3, 2016
LGBTQ Poets Respond to the Pulse Nightclub Shooting
Janazah for Pulse
"Gazing at so many billions of brilliant stars, it's hard
to know which formed at the beginning of time,
and which burst into existence last week."
— excerpt from an article by Ross Anderson,
The Atlantic, November 16th, 2015
On Laylatul Qadr
the night during Ramadan
when Allah is closest
and the angels are said to walk amongst us
I pray for you
Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi rajioon …
I look up duas and surahs
not uttered in years
they will be multiplied into thousands
Future ancestors taken too soon
you are not a requiem
you are stars
in existence before the beginning of time
Stepping out under crescent skies
dusk finally agreeing to break my fast
I look up first for your radiance
dancing across the galaxies
In scientific terms
when celestial bodies make noise
they call it "stellar music"
I hear the strains of reggaeton
my hips swivel into the different rhythms of all our ancestors
"our stars in heaven
hallowed be your names"
is a queer, Pakistani Muslim poet and arts educator born in Jeddah. In a time when even exhaling while being Muslim is considered a crime, she conjures poetry as an act of collective liberation. Her work has been published in numerous anthologies and journals including Adrienne: A Journal For Queer Women
, the anthology Writing the Walls Down: A Convergence of LGBTQ Voices, Arc Poetry Magazine, Matrix Magazine, Your Voice Tastes Like Home: Immigrant Women Write Anthology, Plenitude Magazine
and shared online through The Feminist Wire
and Love Inshallah
, amongst others. Amal's work is born of, with and by the intersectional communities she is a part of. Following the loss of beautiful lives at Pulse, we came together as Latinx, Black, Indigenous and Muslim QTIPOC to create a healing space for local QTIPOC community in Vancouver, unceded Coast Salish territories (British Columbia). It also happened to be Ramadan. QTIPOC mourning, healing and love allowed this poem to be born.
Glass: A Journal of Poetry is published weekly by Glass Poetry Press.
All contents © the author.