For months we’d been monitoring your news
as if you were a broadsheet,
and I’d trace
the outline of your every response
so I could recount it precisely. The light was always
on in the window, the mountains always
Then I went and missed your message.
For two nights I didn’t know
that you had tried to say hello
one time when you couldn’t sleep.
While I sat on a rattan chair,
a silk kaftan draped over its back.
Over here I see the ocean, still as a stone,
until a ferry emerges and slices the surface
like a cutter through dough, leaving
a line of stubborn white foam.
The light is always
on in the window, the mountains
always far away and the cicadas
creeping in the shadows
never stop shrieking.
Nashwa Gowanlock is a writer, journalist and literary translator, with an MFA in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Based in the UK, she is the managing editor of ArabLit Quarterly, a journal of Arabic literature in translation.