It was the great master who taught me
of the asmâ’ al-asmâ’, the names of the names,
through yellowed wreaths carrying the weight
of coffee stains and dog-eared bookmarks
and the occasional marginalia of an other
who once walked these same forests.
He wrote a whole book to uncover
all the faces of god, and laughed when he was done,
for each page was only another mask
as evening crept in through the cracked window
and he gazed out over this fading light,
across the years that make up no time at all
when you know how to name it truthfully.
The names of the names, he whispered,
show us that you can only really read by writing.
The world may not be a blank book,
but it is certainly like a poem, and that seems right,
as only poetry leaves space
for the true author.