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Mi’e’raj (The Ascension)

Translated from the Turkish by Aron Aji

the ladder rising to the sky

(after the soil seethes up

the waters calm down)

this is not Jacob’s ladder


Mount Ahır, Engizek . . . Öksüz . . . Berit . . .

Zeytun Springs . . . Blood River Bridge . . . Yeşilgöz Gorge

from the deep comes the resolve of the upsurge

in the beginning the earth must be flat


angels return from the clouds

down below, humid sleep, divine silence

down below, no ladders, no ladders . . . Death without

the Angel of Death converted to money’s dust here


dawn deferred . . . daylight dimmed, like a vigil . . .


wickedness is wary of virtue

on the faces, the hearts’ shadows

the cry in government square fattened

not on tears but the crossmarks on doors


this is Esau’s dominion, and of those

who say, all is lawful for the cause

is God destroying the faithful, is perdition

born of the agony of the silenced


don’t ask me where I’m going

I am going, certain, determined

I am going to cross-examine

the buildings unresistant to earthquakes


where’s it, did the wind sweep away the mountains’ ghazal?


Mi’e’raj: The night of the Prophet Muhammad’s ascension, and the origin of the name of Maraş (Kahramanmaraş), the epicenter of the February 2023 earthquake in Turkey.