Self-Portrait with Profanity

ninety-nine names for my god
though i know none for my [     ]

a failing not of my deity but of
my arabic      not the language

itself rather the overeager mosaic
i hoard      i steal       i borrow

from pop songs          & mine
from childhood fluency    i guard

my few swearwords like tinkling
silver anklets     spare & precious

& never nearly enough to muster
a proper arabic anger      proper arabic

vulgarity     only a passing spar
always using the names of animals

i am not polite         i am only inarticulate
overproud      of my little arsenal

a stranger blows a wet tobacco kiss
through the window    of my taxi

& i deploy     my meager weapons
[dog]          [pig]         [donkey]

& finally        my crown jewel
i pass my tongue across my teeth

crane my neck about the window
& call        [your mother’s                  ]

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