Poem: Les(sin)s Taught

Trigger warning for sexual abuse.

My grandfather was my teacher

His lessons focused on teaching me how to make O’s with cigarette smoke and pray

He’d warn me the only way to fail is if I don’t participate

As long as my teacher was pleased and never complained

My parents never asked what I learned in school

Frequently my grandfather would test me on my skills

I needed to make him proud

Show me how to pray, he’d say

I’d get down on my knees like he instructed in every private lesson

Show me your O. Suck it in, and then blow, he’d encourage

Surely I’ve seen him pray

So what we did must’ve been holy

I knew, as a Muslim I am submissive to the One above

And it made sense why my grandfather stood over me

I learned to be naked to who I pray to

In order to receive his grace within me

So here I am years later, still praying

The only way I was taught how to.