It all started when dad made me sign up for football. I was really little, and when I told him I didn’t want to, he said, “It will turn you into the man you’re going to become,” and we didn’t say anything else for the rest of the car ride. And, looking back on it, I guess he was right, but not for the reasons he thought.
Womb In my dream, it had green eyes and light-brown skin. I couldn’t make out a gender, and none of the doctors in the white room I stood in spoke of one. It looked up at me with those big green eyes, almost reptilian. I was terrified. It was mine, I was sure, but its …
I remember childhood as the dirt on my feet and how my gold anklets jingled when I ran across the street. The red strings tied around my wrists, the first apartment we grew up in. Summers full of bug bites and melted ice cream. Sleeping parents and car alarms. I want to give that to someone.
He asks if the roar of the engine is loud and I want to say like the belly of a slouching beast, because it’s not all false, but instead I say how close we come to the sun. His hand spans my back in slow circles, and he tells me again to open it. And I say, I tried, it wasn’t a success.
Kissing him, there’s an urgency, and the feeling that if I don’t leave the house now, it’ll burn down around us.
If ever there came a moment you wanted someone to tell you to stay, to unpack, to quash any lingering doubts, it is now. But of course these moments only happen in films, the earnest entreaties sputtered out over a sorrowful score. You anticipate his response in that dramatized scenario: “I don’t want that kind of power over anyone else.”
Our fiction editor for November and December is Ahsan Butt, who recently published an essay for our emergency issue, as well as fiction in issue 1. Ahsan is a writer and essayist. He was born in Toronto, is of Pakistani descent, and currently lives with his wife in Los Angeles. His short-fiction and essays have …
A Muslim who does not practice or believe is generally regarded as safe. It is in the act of prayer that I become potentially dangerous.