I am not the conclusion you draw from CNN
nor the chapter in your history book that devotes just thirty pages
to the entire (abridged) history of conquest, empires, science, and faith
with no room for the people.
Neither am I the cloth over my hair,
nor the piteous glances that follow it,
nor their well-intentioned assumption of oppression,
robbing me of a chance to assert my independence.
I am not a faceless prostate body in a crowd of faceless prostrate bodies,
I am not Islam, one billion Muslims bent in different directions to the same destination,
nor am I a single sura plucked from the Qur'an
and dissected by people who cannot even read it.
And no, I am not the martyr strapped with explosives
nor the martyr that gets pierced with a stray bullet on the way to work,
nor the imam with all the answers
nor the prophets who sit in silence.
I am not Mohammad or Jesus or Mary or Abraham,
I am not their words,
I am not their daughter.
I am only an open courtyard,
floating in green dew-drenched leaves,
bubbling with a thousand confessions
for God's Waiting Ears.
I am a sinner sitting patiently among the rest,
I am the ant crawling on parched soil,
panting up at the sky,
looking for a well in the desert.
I am only this;
I am not Islam.