Nouf is proof God does not want me to die a horse-girl with horse-hair who loves even the flies will not swat them carries them outside with a glass-and-paper trap she brims with glee high praise for bicycle lanes pie steeples the colour of sea foam seedless tangerines she collects fallen leaves celebrates precipitation by running outside because raised in a desert where she never saw a cloud we two hijabi girls in a non-hijabi world we smoke weed on her roof eat all the mana’eesh her mama stacked in the freezer pray together dance barefoot in the fresh snow compare kneecaps and collarbones wake up pantsless with my head in her lap her hand in my hair love you coocoo love you nouf every june when her mama visits from khobar nouf brings a backpack full of haram to my condo what's in the bag nouf? jeans and love letters half a joint for sunny days septum-ring hardcopies of fatema mernissi and aisha geissinger a jar she never opens with her sweeterman's breath inside nouf I say nouf I'm in love and she ululates on the subway nouf wait wait listen he’s married she swallows her tongue like a mollusk coughs it pickled back up to her sad-glad mouth coocoo start from the beginning.
Noor Naga, "SHARING" from Washes, Prays. Copyright © 2020 by Noor Naga. Reprinted by permission of the publisher.
Source: Washes, Prays (Penguin Random House, 2020)