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Since 1996 Volume XXI

Dorianne Laux
 
Dorianne Laux's fifth poetry collection, The Book of Men (W.W. Norton, 2011), is now available. Lauxs fourth book of poems, Facts about the Moon, is the recipient of the Oregon Book Award. The recipient of two Best American Poetry Prizes, a Pushcart Prize, two National Endowment for the Arts  Fellowships and a Guggenheim Fellowship. Widely anthologized, her work has appeared in the Best of APR, The Norton Anthology of Contemporary Poetry and The Best of the Net.

AUTUMN PRAYER,
NORTH CAROLINA STATE

 

When I walk to my car I see him

kneeling on a square of dirt beneath a tree,

his forehead pressed against a patch of yellow grass. 

I know hes praying so I walk lightly, respectfully,

my head down so he wont think Im looking at him. 

Hes maybe 23, thin and kempt,

his black jeans and white shirt clean, pressed. 

Cars roll by, students chat into cell phones.

No one seems to notice theres a young man praying.

 

When I get home I look up Muslim prayer times

on The Islamic Finder: Late Afternoon:  Asr:

Immediately after the last time limit of Dhuhr

until sunset.  He must do this all day,

no matter where he is, search for spots of earth

between classes, before work, after work,

like this one, maybe three square feet

beneath a young crape myrtle, native

to the Indian subcontinent, third largest

Muslim nation, with bark that changes color

and produces flowers of many different hues,

from deep purple to red to white with every shade

between, member of the loosestrife family

blessed with simple, ovoid, lustrous, thin-veined leaves

which release an aromatic odor when bruised,

and sets free, in autumn,

thousands of small winged seeds. 

 

Previously published in 27 Views of Raleigh, Eno Publishers.

 

 

Copyright, Dorianne Laux.
All Rights Reserved.