By Elder Gideon.

“Your fasting shamed my fatigue and shifted my mind / To my heart.”

The Seekers by Daniel McKinley.

for AA


When I’m triggered by your temper, I remember

Your neighbors desperate to find where you’d been


buried alive in rubble. They lifted you like a bloody doll

With its head broken open. When I see your scar, I lean


Into you, the miracle you are living. The imam you will be

Are yet my student knocking afterschool outside my routine.


Your fasting shamed my fatigue and shifted my mind

To my heart. I helped correct your grammar of a scene


Of your diaspora from Iraq to America. Your older brother

Almost made it until Feds suspected him in between


Syria and Turkey. The FBI invaded your tenth birthday,

Took him from your arms through a torn door screen.


FBI vans swallowed him behind iron as you wailed away.

You were dashed again to the ground as a broken figurine.


From your own rubble, as for any refugee your age,

The test of jihad is inside, where Allah alone shall intervene.


To fight outside is to have already lost the fight inside.

You opened my heart to what Islam means.


I too regard you as family, as a son. In Ramadan,

you welcomed me, to break the fast at sunset, to convene


With the men of your mosque. Here I am a sojourner

in response to the Lord of the Universe, Rab el Alameen.


Alongside you I bow to the light of all prophets,

to the Most Gracious, the All-Merciful One. Amen in Amin.

The Blood Pudding – April 28, 2021

Elder Gideon, MFA, is a practicing poet, essayist, painter, sculptor, educator, and queer faith leader. Atmosphere Press will soon publish his first collection “Aegis of Waves,” an interdisciplinary meditation weaving science, spirituality, and true youth stories. His poems have appeared in Finding the Birds, Peauxdunque Review, The Blood Pudding, Poetry Pea, Monday Journal, Tempered Runes, Sixfold, Cathix Northwest Press, and in anthologies published by Wingless Dreamer and Poet’s Choice. Elder Gideon writes from a metaphysical urgency.

Artwork: Daniel McKinley is an artist currently living and working in Long Island City, New York. His primary medium is oil on canvas and in his work he tries to take the viewer to a place that is unexpected. McKinley believes that sometimes we wish to escape to another place and he hopes to provide the opportunity, if only for a moment. You can find more about him here.