Found this digging through some old writings from Muharram 2014. An imagined conversation between Imam Hussein (as) and I.
Deldari دلداری means consolation in English. It literally translates to “Holding a heart”.
God has brought me to Hussein, so I may touch friendship when I am too poor to reach for it Above.
This is the only way I can cry
my being out to paper
This is the only way I can empty
So reader, forgive my indulgences…
I paint my face again
in an image of a beloved
idol, Hussein, who is not an idol
in truth, but a journey of
This is becoming my home
This is becoming my heat
I take Hussein’s heart in mine
we stroll the desert dreams
and smile at the abundance of
thorns and roses, and mirages of water
this too shall pass, we exhale
He refrains from being thirsty
God is so abundant
He is everywhere on this land
His honey drips sweeten our being
into the ocean of ancient memory.
Walking with Hussein is
Forgiveness, its becoming weightless
Taking his shade, I break, light loaded
Like a companion, he stitches my
shredded heart and whispers to me
that these stitches are permanent.
Reminders for those who are to come,
of how deeply colorful the journey to Truth is.
I tell him I feel exiled, my mirror’s broken and I am afraid
of breaking even more. He gathers the dews
that waterfall from my eyes as I write these words
Gives me his height to hold
Caresses my throat that has been worn by
its ghabDH and bast (closing and opening) by his singing.
He knows my arms are numbing, so his lashes cast a glance of prayer to them
Hussein is a lover of all… all broken strengths.
Hussein smiles as he passes another well. I love his smile. The only well is his eyes.
Walking alongside him heals, he doesn’t expect me to listen to
grand narrations and descriptions of the Divine, just yet. His penmanship, too wise, too earthly.
He tells me stories of his grandfather, and the earlier playdates they had,
“The reality of Muhammad is here”, pointing nowhere … “you’ll always remember, you’ll always know”.
And he tells me how Muhammad’s soft heart always loved more than he received.
His story soothes me… is this narrative, mercy from God?
Hussein pulls my face back from the question
and tells me to listen to his stories.
The desert winds heat our walk…
He tells me of the miracle of
his father and mother giving alms when their hands were empty,
and when his older brother kept silent when his right was taken, his forbearance and patience. He tells me of his horse, DhulJinnah, who does not even share in the human moral stories of injustice and justice, but still wants to
run around and immerse in the vastness, infinity of Karbala’s plain
He tells me of his sister Zainab who has come with him, knowing she’ll return companionless… she has come not for company, but care… to care for Zaynul Abideen, for the orphans. This care. This care. Hussein’s eyes well.
Their pain soothes mine to a dying flame.
He says, “Struggle beautifully.
That is where we truly come to be”.
Don’t leave me just yet, I almost yell… I am melting in this love. Looking at his face is like worship. I almost want to smile, I almost want to become the sand grains that cover Hussein’s eyes. I almost want to garment his being. I almost want to confess to all of this.
But he mounts Dhuljinnah, both of them graceful and dreaming fearlessly… meant for each other. Hussein knows i’ve fallen and am falling in the whirlpool of his companionship… i’m burning, i’m burning the sand under my feet
My eyes hesitate between gratitude and the fear of “Don’t leave me, not you”.
Hussein whispers praise
He mounts and rides into the desert,
I stand and look at their mutual grace, whispering “Hussein… Hussein… what about the rest of the story?”.
Already strides away,
Dhuljinnah slows… My heart trembles.
Hussein looks back,
removing the scarf from his mouth… wet from shukr
“if you should love…
then follow me”.