—from Arabic qiblah, “that which is placed opposite” (OED)

To Muslims it means a number of things:
the point toward which they turn in prayer
(Mecca now but once Jerusalem);
that side of a mosque thus oriented;
the sacred direction itself.

To me, impiously adopting it,
the word denotes quite simply you:
the one toward whom, whenever love’s azan
comes floating to my fervent ear,
I pivot, kneel, and address my orison.



Introduce yourself to The New Criterion for the lowest price ever—and a receive an extra issue as thanks.

This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 23 Number 6, on page 37
Copyright © 2019 The New Criterion | www.newcriterion.com