Fall 2009 • Vol. XXXI No. 4 FictionOctober 1, 2009 |

Azazil

He [Azazil] was told: Bow down! He said, "I will bow to no other." He was asked, Even if you receive My curse? He said, "It does not matter. I have no way to an other-than-You. I am an abject lover. . . . There can be no distance for me. Nearness and distance are one. . . . A servant of pure heart will bow to no other than You."          —Mansur al-Hallaj, The TaSin of Before-Time and Ambiguity 1. Al-Qaria (The Catastrophe) In the beginning, I was a word in his mouth. I slept under his soft, wet tongue. I came out wet, like a human baby, but I was smokeless fire, and I burned his saliva caul away. When the magma slowed and the earth cooled down and mist rose white off the black stopped magma, he pointed and said, That was what you looked like. Only whafs black there was blaze.          I remember he took me riding in the whirlwind once. I was the only angel invited inside it. Its cockpit was a noiseless sphere, see-through. We we

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Amit Majmudar
Amit Majmudar is a poet, novelist, and translator. His most recent book is Godsong: A Verse Translation of the Bhagavad-Gita, with Commentary (Knopf, 2018).

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