asleep in the shade. His fists are scrolls,
eyelashes dense fluttering fans,
his chest barely moves. Mother and grandmother test the shallows
of the inlet, their garments spreading darkly.
They dip and manoeuvre, like giant jellyfish. The young mother smiles back as I peer
at her sleeping son. She senses the waft
of approval, that unresistant seduction, a baby
settled in the globe of another woman’s gaze. But she cannot know the rest:
my imagining of her son,
his future privilege.
No matter how lowly his birth,
there will be women yet lower. But for now, I too love him, his tight,
creamy fists, the quivering brown lashes,
that incipient dark brow, eyelids
sealed against all divisions, the hustle, the weighty conscriptions
of his future – to Allah,
to another version of this-god,
that-god, whatever-god, sun, moon, crescent and sickle, myriad universes, all newly exploded stars, all that he may believe as his by right.