Sale On At The Dervish Store

It’s not hard to sound enlightened:
the words and gaze and faraway smile
are only a YouTube tutorial away.
It’s easy to wear a wrap around my head
drape robes to the floor
swish them defiantly and listen
for heads turning
whispers vindicating my battle.
It’s such fun to dress up holy. There’s
always a sale on at the dervish store
the perfect hat for him, and elegantísimo
scarves for her, tied just right for this era’s
season. And sighing at the woes of women’s
work is free; duties of motherhood,
bleaching communal kitchens, cleaning grandma’s
bedsores – all of that is cheap! Nice work if you
can get it but this path is not about
what you can get.
It’s simplicity itself to bow
to press my brow into the ground
a metronome of form and sway
but what’s hard is the shudder
and the flood that inundates the mat
when it isn’t all about being looked at
when the urgency of living in truth
comes surging in like an unwanted guest
and stares me into tears.
It’s not enough simply to brush past
all those heathens in the frozen aisle
with your turban so high towering
to dedicate your days to praying
while your partner has to pick up all the bills
to lecture all the world on all their faults
while you gaze at a mirror that appears
so polished. That is not this path. That’s
just another fetish of a frock, only this time
a sanctioned length, a humble cut;
it is Milan for monks, catwalks for castaways
who are too caught up in the cloth
to rush to the bottle that brings them hope
or grief or anything as long as it is
real. That is the hardest part
of the hardest path
but it makes
all the rest
turn to dust.

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