Ramadan Day 16 – Pharaoh’d

In the nighttime, split into two, it is my shadow writing, not I.

Alone, in the light, my bright face rattled at the thought of entertaining company, I can take off this mask.  The secret one covets her aloneness, covets the trace of her thoughts outlining only her one mind.  What I give to others is returned to me only when I return the favor of giving to myself.  Here, with this pen, or computer, or typewriter, or flickering candle, I am replenished in a way that company and conversation cannot give me.

Today I continued an unhealthy pattern in my life by allowing injury into my life when I could have avoided it.  Some part of me felt impervious to hurt because I was fasting, unjustified in bravery.  Yet when I drank and ate, a rush of feelings descended, and I said to myself — hey, no big deal, tangle with trouble even though trouble has announced herself with a calling card.  I can control how I feel.  So this is pride?

I console myself that fools do learn.  Honestly, what a relief it will be to turn to fasting again tomorrow.  I hope I will not have the energy to invite mischief into my life.

I don’t have much more to say.  Thanks to Allah.

Instead, I will try to memorize this poem by Kay Ryan instead by typing it out.  The first time I heard Dinah read it, I could not stop repeating its final lines.  Over and over.  Terrified.


The Pharaohs

by Kay Ryan


“The Pharaohs killed those who had built the secret chambers

of the pyramids to ensure that any knowledge of their

existence would be lost.”

– Henning Mankell, The White Lioness




The moral is

simple: don’t

help other people

with their secrets.

But within the

self, what defense

is there against

the pharaohs who

demand chambers

we must build

on pain of death

after which

we’re killed?

A person is

as a kingdom

and can afford

some losses toward

the construction of

underground systems,

say the pharaohs,

shutting their

cunning doors

that never were

and won’t be





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