By the Sky Full of Returning

By the sky full of returning,
by the earth full of cracks!
Surely it is a decisive word indeed.

             —Qur’an, 86:1113

The night visitor returning like rain
to the desert came upon me and said,

Do not learn to drink regret from my sighs.
Fear runs on foot; love like lightning in the wind.

When the storehouses of the heavens
and the brothels of the city cry,
what is wept is the same tendril of light;

no less perfumed a tear unhid as torn
from a lover’s palm in the whorehouse,
than in the oasis of an angel’s flight.

The owners of a garden swore on the word,
saying they would harvest it in the morning
but rose at noon.

Flowers do not choose
their colours, nor children their mothers,
but we have been knit into one soul;

our flesh the story of each other—
our love a button for which the universe
has sewn a suit.