the uber I step into is halal.
at least the driver tells me so.
he says, this window is halal
this door is halal, this floor;
& we both laugh, the prayer
hung in the rearview
a minaret that calls my knees,
the closest to masjid
I have been in years.
tonight this ride is the umma
I choose, the driver’s hoot
a dervish that whirls my smile.
I am 1% halal, 99% shaitan
at least my devil is honest.
khuda ka shukr, at least my devil
is honest: my skirt a little too short
my collarbones, ridges
for lovers’ fingers to find flight.
I never dress right for any
weather, my arms a gathering of bumps
all my aunties’ shame ice
the blood below my inked veins.
my knees wobble on the edge
of what I should be & what I am.
at the end of my sight I dream a world
brimming with my contradictions.
when I turn to look it disappears.
my devil quiet the days I wrap my hair
in a bouquet. but tonight, mashallah,
we are safe from his gaze in this rushed
chariot. I lace the backseat with my haram.
I trace an altar in my god’s name.
From If They Come For Us: Poems (One World/ Random House, 2018). Copyright © 2018 by Fatimah Asghar. Used with the permission of the poet.