This story is paired with “Aladdin” from 1001 Arabian Nights. For best experience, download the LithoReader for your iPhone or iPad and get NonBinary Review for free. 

Gliding legs usher him past street beggars
paring oranges, towards hallowed
spires and domes, through bolted doors
and before the qibla, whose mihrab
welcomes him without rebuke.
There on his knees Faisal weeps
in agony, pricked by remorse’s sting,
appealing with heartfelt snivel and bawl
to the Most Merciful and Compassionate
to assoil a wayward sinner,
for a measure of undeserved pity.

He waits. Hours later, solidly braced
in the fortress of his creed,
he kisses the woven prayer rug
then slowly rises to greet at last
the forked tongue of fate,
hopeful of meed, fearful of loss,
calmly resigned to Allah’s will.

Outside, peevish beggars chide in
tones surly and sour,
mumbling of poor fare,
craving a pittance, wagging bony fingers
till the anxious toss dinars
in charitable amounts with forced smiles.

NBR6MarlonsmallBrandon Marlon‘s poetry has been published in The Canadian Jewish News, Streeteaters, Poetica, Yalla Journal,, Jewish Tribune, The Bulletin, The Victoriad, The Trinity Review, UC Review, and other publications. He has released two poetry volumes, Inspirations of Israel: Poetry for a Land and People (2008), followed by Judean Dreams (2009).