情爱的你

By Nuha Shaikh 

情爱的你 —

Fall is the season of goodbyes, of turning over new leaves and pressing the most brightly colored memories in between the pages of the few books I brought with me to college. I’ve been compulsively picking up the leaves that catch my eye, I feel guilty otherwise. There’s a stack of at least eleven of them now. I don’t want to forget any of these days.

                 O Allah, there is nothing made easy except what you make easy, 

                 and You make difficulty easy, if You wish

                                                                             اللَّهُمَّ لَا سَهْلَ إِلَّا مَا جَعَلْتَهُ سَهْلًا، وَأَنْتَ تَجْعَلُ الْحَزْنَ سَهْلًا إِذَا شِئْتَ

It’s 2020, I’m now 20, I don’t think I’ve ever seen so clearly. How desperately I wish my reflexes were right, so that I could hold on to you forever, curled fingers around your own, and we could be young and eternal, friendship and love perfectly balanced as we found a home in each other, growing up together.

                Find, find, find a friend, 

                I found a good friend, 

                salute to them and hold their hand, 

                You are my good friend, 

               Goodbye!

                                                                                                                           找啊找啊找朋友,

                                                                                                                           找到一个好朋友,

                                                                                                                           敬个礼啊握握手,

                                                                                                                           你是我的好朋友,

                                                                                                                                    再见!

I left home, finally, after dreaming about it for years, escape was such a tantalizing flight, as I headed East into the Sunrise. I left a space for you, honored who we used to be, and gave us room to grow. But giving you room and board only left me lonely and alone, dusty beds and cracked mirrors, open windows restless in the wind.

                  I don’t think anything will happen but I still hope, God willing.

                                                                                                                            إن شاء الله.

I’ve now latched the windows and closed the doors. You still have the key but the path to me is quite different than when you left me, and then I left you. If you make your way back to me, I welcome you with open hands, as always. And if you don’t, that’s okay too. I’ve said my goodbyes and made my peace with the ghost of you that lingers in me. 

                    Please take care of yourself. 

                                                                                                                          请多保重。

                                                                                                      w/love,

                                                                                                           N

Museum of Stolen Wishes

by Nuha Shaikh 

There are no more sacred places, 

Just land where gold once hid,

Just shards of history that

I now use to pick through my memories.

What do we collect when we eat?

Does the type of consumption matter

More than what is being consumed?

I wonder if the winners are always

The ones who are eaten,

We all lose in the end,

And their lives are the sweetest to taste.

I’ve never tried it but I’ve heard

That you taste like silk-silver,

Like molten metal made soft again

By digestion.

Is that not what success is?

A delicacy, to be sure.

In our jealousy and shame,

We watched you devour him,

And it seemed like enough

Until you turned to us and said:

Silk-silver or jade-water,

I take what I can get,

And I can taste everything,

For the world is made for

Creatures like me,

Bone-machine efficiency.

And isn’t this fair?