The Word

Zuleika had a secret, every word
or phrase she spoke in secret ways referred

to her beloved Yusuf. If she said,
“The moon is out tonight,” she meant instead

to say she loved him. When she said, “Aloe”
or “Spice” or “bread,” her confidantes would know

that it was code for Yusuf; every phrase
a tribute to his beauty and his ways.

You could say, and by now you may have guessed,
that Zuleika lived a life that was obsessed

with Yusuf; she had turned the very gift
of speech to magic, making meanings drift

and making words say what they never meant.
The blandest phrases turned to sentiment

and thoughts and praises of Yusuf. When she cursed
aloud she meant she wanted time reversed

to once again the hour they last met
when parting made her words turn to regret.

His was the name that every morning burst
from her lips and quenched her every thirst

his name would warm Zuleika in the cold.
And just so, all believers should be told,

that when you seek salvation for your soul
you merge into the ocean of the whole

so lover and beloved are the same
your Zuleika is merely Yusuf’s name

and even though your linguist thinks it odd
all pronouncements are one–the word is “God.”

The syllable that permeates all things
exploding stars and songs the robin sings.

"The Word", A poem by Rumi, as translated by Farrukh Dhondy

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the girl who struggle with the question, "Who am I?"

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