To Abu Ali Al-Hasan Ibn Al-Hasan Ibn Al-Haytham
I just found out, Hasan, your full name means
Father of the Most High,
the Good or Handsome,son again of the Handsome,
son of the Young Eagle.
I am son of Kenneth,
son again of Kenneth,
which means Handsome, like Hasan.My first name Ellis also, like Ali,
claims God as my salvation.
As for Haxton: in your time, I think,
in Hawks-town, my namesakes trained falcons,
not the Sons of Eagles maybe, but their kin.
Our names are synonyms.
But more than that, Hasan,
though dead a thousand years,
you came to me when I was young.
When I taught children in sixth grade
to make a pinhole camera
from a cardboard box,
with photographic paper for their film,
although I did not know it then,
this was a gift I passed along from you
to them, and inside this
they formed from light their images.
One girl I taught that spring
spiked such a fever in her brain
she died. At twelve from a mosquito bite
she died. They dug her grave nearby
in Minnesota where we lived,
in the state of water mirroring the sky.
But first, Hasan, because of you,
a thousand threads of light
inside the darkness of a little box
preserved this image of her face.
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