family

5

Diary of a Syrian Refugee

March 18, 2012 The noise of the fighting on the other side of the border has started up again, more a groaning clatter sputtering incessantly than the distant hum we have become used to. The fighting has drawn closer. The sound has been unbearable. The music of the rain and the deafening roar of thunder like a drum roll before a curtain call that has engulfed us. Jaddati says this rain is a blessing. I suppose I would have enjoyed it if it weren’t so cold. The rains have...

5

To Tape to My Dorm Wall

My sister, know that only a prayer keeps us afloat for tomorrow: pulling down, pushing through the boarded window. I pack three suitcases for part two of the world: sleeping in, cheap wine, tax forms, sorority girls. I will miss my little brother calling adhan. Will I wake for fajr, a pink dawn? In a few months, I will have all Ramadhan, alone, to leash myself, to work my way through a plastic box of Palestine’s sweetest pitted dates. This summer, I’ll be packing my bags and preparing to...

6

A Bouquet of Love

He gently laid the dried petals into the potpourri vase and swirled through them slightly. As the faint fragrance rose and wafted through the air, his mind drifted back to beloved memories of his childhood. He remembered his parents and how every week his father would bring a bouquet of fresh flowers for his mother. With a smile reserved only for his father, she would gingerly accept them and place them into her favorite vase atop the dining table. For the next week or so, the ornate vase and...

8

Burn Away

I. I walk upon what ceases to remain, Where neither wall nor beam was spared. I walk on broken glass of windowpanes On a night when no one else seems to care. I cannot tell a soul to protect my name, This house holds with it a burden of shame. I recount many a dream of this day, This rubble, this pungent smell in the air Of rage, agony, and sullen clouds of grey. I witness the aftermath of my nightmare. As I walk through the remnants and traces,...

5

Familiar Strangers

Life’s circumstances can make you either bitter or better. Nineteen years into my life, I was finally blessed with the opportunity to meet my maternal grandmother for the first time. To say the least, the winds of life blow every individual in a different direction, each with different circumstances. The whole situation was rather bizarre, come to think of it. One phone call led to another, and suddenly, my grandmother was scheduled to arrive within the following week.  She later told me that I must have some magical way...

5

The Red Agenda

January 7th, 4:13 a.m. “What was she saying?” Stumbling and mumbling in the dark, he searched for the door in vain, trying to locate the voice he heard minutes ago. Funny that he couldn’t find it. He tasted the black smoke of air on his tongue again and finally, his hands found the cold, metal knob. He threw the door open and light reflected on his face, sparkling in his squinting light-brown eyes. He stopped as if surprised by the block of an unexpected arm. He laughed, giving up. The...

7

Jumping Off the World

“Have you ever felt like jumping off the world?” Upon the questioner’s face my gaze falls. Frozen tears avalanche and melt into warm streams. Her face screams through tired creases as she whispers, “I want my fingertips to grace the sky as it blushes a stain of plum With my arms thrown up as I dive off the earth and splash into the universe.” I watch her peer back at me from behind the watery curtains that drape her irises. “Eardrums burst and walls shatter when they spit spears...

35

Haunting Past

Intisar shut down her laptop, picked up her jacket and tucked a stray wisp of curly brown hair into her scarf. Picking up her bag, she walked to the door of her office and shut the light as she left. “Leaving for the day, boss?” said a young writer Intisar recognized as Julia. “Yes, Julia. When are you heading home?” “Oh, not for a while. You assigned me that that story about the Richardson house, remember? Deadline’s next week.” “Oh, yes! How is that coming?” “Pretty good, actually. I...

8

A Palace of Dark Windows

Sometimes we think that just because there is light everything is clear. We fail to see the shades. We are blind to the shadows of their stories. On one of your semi-solitary strolls along the river of cement, you encounter a palace whose only openings are windows. You reach for a broad bright window and swing it open. There, you see a very respectable-looking man. Driven by curiosity, you observe him with his friends, his boss and his co-workers. Light seems to be radiating from all around him. So courteous,...

22

I’m So Not Worth Anything

It was a beautiful moonlit, starless night. I gazed out of the window and breathed in deeply. It all seemed so peaceful, but yet, the turmoil within me seemed to be raging harder than ever. I had a sudden urge to jump and just let go. Let go of my worries, my problems, my life… I’m so not worth anything. Sometimes I feel like my family thinks I was only a nuisance…and I don’t blame them. After all, they have to pay for my food, pay for my school,...