KHALEED AL ASAAD
For they were not his gods. His god was one.
He knew the difference. His fingers smash
one at a time they hammered. And the lash.
He hoped his heart would fail. When they were done
they took his head and hanged him. And the sky
was brass above him. Centuries of dust
blow round at night. He did not break his trust
to broken lovely stone. A single horse’s eye,
a lion tail, a god’s titanic stare
Held in his mind and buried in the sand
for aeons more again. The scholar’s hand
could write no more. He did not tell them where.
Duty submission worship. Final knife,
no harm to learning honour. Just his life.