Here and There

I’m still your biggest fan. I know you’re mine. You’re no longer here, but I can still hear your footsteps approaching, the sound of your voice as you play with words, the laughter that would never die.

I remember the way you used to make sure questions were in the right context, and you’d ask me to explain again. By the time I would explain, we had moved on to other news, other worldly issues, and I would fall in love with your ideas all over again.

And now I think about coincidences, fate, destiny. I told you fate plays a role but it always negotiates. We chose separate paths and yet I wonder is there a bridge between us that can’t be severed? Can I visit you? Is it a betrayal to my present and future if I remain stuck where you are? Here, while you’re just over there?

You were the vision I manifested and that vision took both of our breaths away. There’s no heartbeat where you used to be and I leaf through words, all I have left, finding you between every syllable (and syllabus).

We start the semester and I wish you were part of this chapter. To witness a journey is to make it real. I don’t want to believe in ghosts but I see your raised eyebrow in my critical theory books, hear your long pauses (are you still there?) as we break it all down. I envy my past self for being where you are (were). Are, were, here, there – time and geography.

Your presence (absence) exceeds all.

A Double Moment in Time

You are a word in a sacred text. I hold the book carefully, afraid the pages will fall apart. I read you all the time. I still find the time.

I look at the time we spent together and in your world it’s not too long. Almost enough. But not enough. Barely meeting the bare minimum. Didn’t quite cut it.

In my world, in crip time, it’s the moment that counts. And it’s twice the time. It’s the time it takes for me to cross over to where you’re standing. It’s the moment I see your face in the mirror and I know I can see you- my eyesight is still here. Another double moment. It’s asking for the aisle seat on the plane, so I can make sure my legs work by the time I get to you. It’s that extra shot of B12 in the morning so I can stay awake for dinner.

I add all these moments together and the sum is enough to make two. The moments are always all I have, and I may be demanding, but I have never been greedy. I count my blessings and knowing (and losing) you adds to my life’s narrative. Double moment. A two. Climatic.

But in this moment, in this now, it’s anti-climatic. Losing you is a moment that lengthens time- what was it Bishop says? “The art of losing isn’t hard to master.”

She was right.

It just makes the two a half.

Once Upon a Life

My latest collection of prose-poems is a collaboration with a young Kuwaiti artist. Here’s the link on Amazon, available as paperback and as an e-book on Kindle.

The book is also in Kuwait bookstores: Muse Cafe Bookstore (symphony mall) and Jarir Bookstore.

It was fun working with this artist as we never actually met! We went back and forth with sketches and words. The book is mainly about loss, death, time, and our emotions as vulnerable beings navigating the world.


‘On Love and Loss’ (2015)

Notes on the Flesh (2017)

Literary Madness in British, Postcolonial, and Bedouin Women’s Writing. 2016.

Forget the Words (2016). Dar Kalemat.

The Secret of 50/50 (2017). Dar Kalemat.


Wuthering Heights

Teaching Wuthering Heights this summer. The students loved it! This passage remains my favorite and I read it out to them while they remained still, shocked by the intensity of love. Afterwards we agreed that Catherine left her true love for all the wrong reasons– but we couldn’t decide if that was forgivable. 

You teach me now how cruel you’ve been – cruel and false. Why did you despise me? Why did you betray your own heart, Cathy? I have not one word of comfort. You deserve this. You have killed yourself. Yes, you may kiss me, and cry; and wring out my kisses and tears: they’ll blight you – they’ll damn you. You loved me – what right had you to leave me? What right – answer me – for the poor fancy you felt for Linton? Because misery, and degradation, and death, and nothing that God or Satan could inflict would have parted us, you, of your own will did it. I have no broken your heart – you have broken it; and in breaking it, you have broken mine. So much the worse for me that I am strong. Do I want to live? What kind of living will it be when you – Oh, God! would you like to lie with your soul in the grave?

We didn’t get to be together, but we never separated either. And people who don’t understand magic will never feel what it’s like to speak to those we can’t see.