Let’s say some pissed Imam from Mal or Mahwah
Issues an explosive, ringing fatwa
Calling for Jihad, for all Islamics
To slit the throats of Christian infidels
And plunge their daggers into Jewish stomachs
In retribution for the bombs and shells
That devastated Baghdad. Let’s say Muslims
From Morocco to Jakarta fly
Into our faces, forcing on us hymns
And prayers to sing and say before we die.
Let’s stop right here. This scene could never be.
Surreal, ridiculous, it’s fantasy
To say that Shiites and their brother Sunnis
Would bite the hands that feed them with cold cash.
They might be pissed, but they’re not stupid loonies.
They know we can rebuild Iraq from ash.
Just think how we helped Muslims in Kabul.
Just think how every house can be a palace
Because of Uncle Sam and dear John Bull
Whose gifts will blot out every mote of malice.
Repeat it after me: Bucks and pounds sterling
Will stop all pissed-off dervishes from whirling.
JAMES REISS is a Professor of English & Editor at Miami University Press. In 2001 Carnegie Mellon University Press published his fourth book,
Ten Thousand Good Mornings, which was nominated
for the 2002 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry. His previous poetry books are
The Parable of Fire (CMU Press, 1996), Express (University of
Pittsburgh Press, 1983), and The Breathers (Ecco Press, 1974). He
edited Self-Interviews: James Dickey (Doubleday, 1970). He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org