January 13, 2015

Leila Chatti

14, SUNDAY SCHOOL, 3 DAYS LATE

I’m not stupid—
I know how it works.

But there was a time when
she was just some virgin nobody, too,

small purse of her womb
and her ordinary eggs

waiting like loose pearls.

from Rattle #45, Fall 2014
Tribute to Poets of Faith

[download audio]

__________

Leila Chatti: “People are always surprised to find out that I’m Muslim, which is funny because I was raised pretty much as Muslim as you can get—Sunday school, Qur’an classes, Fridays at the masjid. I don’t wear the hijab and so the common assumption is that I’m not religious. The truth is, I became a poet largely because of my faith. As a child, I wasn’t allowed to listen to music, but I could listen to recordings of the Qur’an. If you’ve ever heard it read, you know how gorgeous it is. It was my first realization that language, particularly beautiful language, can hold power. I wanted to try my hand at crafting language that brought people to their knees, too.” (website)