(For Jamal Kashoggi)

I am Allah—
Al-Rahman —1
Al-Rahim —2

banished from
and love


my Word—


I am mourning
my death—

The robe
of my Kaaba
stained with blood
of free speech

I have witnessed

my sons beheaded
my daughters
deprived of light

I am Allah—
Beloved of
bards and prophets
Idol of rebels and Sufis

fleeing from
who desecrate
my house of

My body dismembered—
scattered over the woods—
I am seeking hearts
to take me in

They have stamped me
on their crown—
used me as cheap gold—

I wonder
if I will survive

Free me—

Free Allah
from despots

Free yourself
from fear

Let me live—

apostate infidel that I am—

At times like this—
with watan3
soaked in worshippers’ blood—

with faith soiled
and values sold—

which god do you worship?

  1. Gracious, compassionate []
  2. Merciful []
  3. Homeland []
Bänoo Zan is a poet, librettist, translator, teacher, editor and poetry curator, with more than 250 published poems and poetry-related pieces as well as three books including Songs of Exile and Letters to My Father. She is the founder of Shab-e She’r (Poetry Night), Toronto’s most diverse and brave poetry reading and open mic series (inception: 2012). Bänoo is the Writer-in-Residence at the University of Alberta, Canada, Sept 2022-May 2023. Her social media links are: LinkedIn; Instagram; Facebook; Twitter. Read other articles by Bänoo.