My ancestors launched into the Arabian Sea
in tiny coracles fragile as leaves
to escape the jihad.

Their country
torched by Arab invaders, their people
slaughtered in the name of Allah,

they entrusted their bodies to the tides,
sailed east to India; fled
for their lives and for freedom to worship

Ahura Mazda, the god
of their ancestors. The year
was 760 AD.

Thirteen hundred years later, I took flight
westward across that churning sea.
Seeds of their spirit

in me. Those ancestors,
with their wandering blood, keep me questing,

I do not own the comforts
of their religion, seek instead a god

who lives in me; am impelled
not by raiders but
by this spirit’s urgent embarkation

to be free.