There Is No God But

New England Review - - Table Of Contents - Agha Shahid Ali

in the “Name of the Mer­ci­ful” let night be­gin. I must light lamps with­out her at ev­ery shrine? God then is only the fi­nal as­sas­sin.

The prayers end. Empti­ness waits to take her in. With laments found lost on my lips, I re­sign my­self to His ev­ery Name. Let night be­gin

with­out any light, for as they carry the cof­fin from the mosque to the earth, no stars shine to re­veal Him as only the fi­nal as­sas­sin.

The Mourn­ers, at the dug earth’s ev­ery mar­gin, fill empti­ness with their hands. Their eyes meet mine. “In the Name of the Mer­ci­ful” I let night be­gin.

In the dark the mar­ble of each tomb grows skin. I tear it off. I make a holo­caust. I un­der­line God is the only, the only as­sas­sin

as flames put them­selves out, at once, on her shrine (they have ar­rived like moths from tem­ples and mosques). With no Name of His then must this night be­gin

(2000, Vol­ume 21.2)

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