This is a challenging piece. We were called on to write from another’s perspective at Poetic Asides, so I chose to embrace empathy and try to envision how a young man might strap on the gear and become a suicide bomber – to see the part of him that truly believes he is a martyr, dying for his faith. Would appreciate comments, but please DO NOT see this as an endorsement for his cause; I am a pacifist, so this was hard to write. Amy


They started it with their MTV and harsh music
polluting the minds of our youth
Their unholy values, grasping for money and power
at the expense of the poor, the widows, the orphans
Insisting our precious resource, the
sand-sheltered oil under our land is theirs
Needed to run their large shiny cars and industries

I have been prepared at the madrassa
Made a video stating my reasons for doing this
Said my goodbyes and made a list
of beloved family and friends who,
because of my courage,
will be assured a place in heaven.

This is my destiny; I was chosen for this honor
by men who have taught me from childhood
all the important tenets of the Qur’an
How infidels must pay for
the evil they bring into this world
for murdering our mothers and children
for coveting what is not theirs to have

I follow the Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him)
Because of my sacrifice and my courage,
my family will be provided for and proud of me

I am being strapped into my gear; then I will
head to the shopping mall
where revealing Western clothes are
polluting the values of our women
(Reema, how lovely she looks in hijab and modest linens)
and hip-hop music
(Reema, dancing dizzily with her sisters
to a nasheen by Dawud Wharnsby Ali)

I will see Reema again in Heaven
Surely she will die a virgin and wait on me there
popping figs into my mouth as I recline at her feet

I am a man and today I prove it
It is time. I enter the mall
Shoppers carrying bags
American soldiers patrolling the halls

And then I see her
Reema, gazing in a store window
I want to shout, to get her out of here
but as the words leave me mouth the ———-

© 2010 Amy Barlow Liberatore