l’autel familial où trône Bilal*
le premier fils de la contrée à claironner d’aussi loin
sa voix de stentor descend
de l’écrin de l’histoire
*Abyssin d’origine, Bilal le premier muezzin de l’Islam fut un des fidèles compagnons du Prophète Mohamed.
family altar where Bilal* sits enthroned
region’s first son to issue the clarion call from so far away
his stentorian voice descends
against the tide
of history’s jewel box
*Abyssinian by birth, Bilal, Islam’s first muezzin, was one of the faithful companions of the Prophet Muhammad.
Nancy Naomi Carlson is a poet and translator whose work has appeared in or is forthcoming in Agni, Boulevard, Circumference, Crazyhorse, Denver Quarterly, Inventory, The Iowa Review, The Journal, Western Humanities Review, Poetry, Prairie Schooner, Shenandoah, and The Georgia Review. Her poetry collections have won the Washington Writers’ Publishing House competition, the Texas Review Press’ Robert Phillips Poetry Chapbook Prize, and have been selected for the Tennessee Chapbook Prize. Her translations of Suzanne Dracius and Abdourahman Waberi are current or forthcoming in 2015 from Tupelo Press and Seagull Books (distributed by the University of Chicago Press) respectively. She was awarded an NEA literature translation fellowship for Abdourahman Waberi’s collection of poetry. She is also an instructor at the Bethesda Writer’s Center, translation editor for Tupelo Quarterly, and translation editor for Blue Lyra Review. In addition, she coordinates the graduate school counseling program at the University of the District of Columbia.