Thank You For Visiting (after Rumi)

A steady pulse of blood pumping in my

heart. That’s all I ask for, not the sickness

unto death. Breathe in, breathe out has

worked so far. But the latest outrage — pandemic lies, election lies — has been

cracking the fault lines, spewing out a

perfect mess. Where is the blessing

of Moses, Muhammad (Peace be upon him), Jesus ?  Because

I need the peace that passes all understanding. It —

that pang of sorrow for misfortune— brought

whoever is reading this — you —

into the four chambers of my heart — here —

so you can visit my verse, this

bridge between midnight and morning.


From “Mohammad and the Sick Companion”

by Rumi, translated by Kabir Helminski

My sickness has been a blessing

because it brought you here this morning.

I am happy with my fever,

with lying awake at night,

rather than sleeping all night like a buffalo,

and for the pain in the back

that woke me at midnight.

Pain is a treasury of mercy.

Behind its thick rind is a delicious fruit.

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