09: The Cloak of My Voice

My friend wears my scarf at his waist I give him moonstones He gives me shell & seaweeds He comes from a distant city & I meet him We will plant eggplants & celery together He weaves me cloth                    Many have brought the gifts    Continue reading “09: The Cloak of My Voice”

08: The Skin of Our Heart

Everything is changing these days. I know this because mostly I don’t know what’s going on and then I have these sudden moments of clarity. Like last night, I was driving home with Roha jaan and we were talking about love languages. She said, I’m a writer—I know it can all be lies and that’sContinue reading “08: The Skin of Our Heart”

07: An Invitation

Hello, lucky seven! Hello, lovely May. I’m writing to you from the house where I began this newsletter, my sister’s home in Texas. I feel entirely new and entirely back where I started again. It’s so strange how much can happen in just four months. Worlds reroute. Paths shift. Love, failure, foolishness, fun. Beauty andContinue reading “07: An Invitation”

06: Love and Lingering

I am thinking a lot about the phrase na raha in Urdu lately. In a song I am trying to translate, na raha is the tail. It trails behind every length of longing the singers introduce. It is the bottom of the spine of the chorus.  Na raha literally means something like “is no longerContinue reading “06: Love and Lingering”

05: The Vigil and the Tree

My friend Sara once posted this graphic on Instagram that read, You haven’t met all the people who will love you yet. I thought about this a lot. I liked the statement, I think, because it left all three particles of the sentence—the you and the people and the love—to the power of the yet.Continue reading “05: The Vigil and the Tree”

04: The Heart of Winter

What is the difference between stillness and silence? In a poem I tried to write about winter three years ago, I wrote: “this city is not silent / but everything is holding still / except the trees who are always waving.” It didn’t make it into the book and a few weeks ago, I commentedContinue reading “04: The Heart of Winter”

03: The Face of the Sky

“In Heaven, everyone will be thirty-two years old,” my nine-year-old niece says, skipping towards where I am washing dishes. She has just finished her daily Quran class. I ask her if this is something her sheikh taught her. “No,” she says, “I just looked it up.” She is curious these days. She asks me thingsContinue reading “03: The Face of the Sky”

01: In This Season of Grief (Again) (Always)

At a dinner with Faith and Terry at least four years ago—(a dinner I think about a lot for a lot of reasons) (do you have one of those?)—we started talking about cookbooks. And how cookbooks use food to talk about everything except food, which is usually a story of the person’s life. “Have youContinue reading “01: In This Season of Grief (Again) (Always)”