009. He knows, and you know not.

The house is on fire, like it has been for ten years or fifteen or thirty-five, when a legitimate parking dispute in a residential neighborhood turned into Republican racism. No, they said, you can’t gather here, although you can pray in the basement if you must. For your community, we suggest the next town over.

Then they lit matches and handed them to worshipers like a present. Divide them–divide them however you can, geographically or by the geography from two generations ago, it doesn’t matter. Once you light the fire they’ll fight amongst themselves.

When is the moon and where is Ramadan and what is Eid?

“I want a community,” I said at my interview last summer. “That’s why the pay doesn’t matter. All I want, all I’ve ever wanted, is a group space that clicks and where I feel like I’m doing something useful for us. Where I’m an asset. Where I belong.”

When did I stop making that du’a?

Oh Dream, when did I quit you?

Was it in college, or once I graduated, or that first direct deposit?

“I came here to fulfill myself and I am torn at the seams.”

Where did I lose you?

“Maybe it is still here, your dream. You have no way of knowing. You have to fight.”

It always feels like I was better yesterday, that every moment I march toward death with a blacker, harder heart.

Smile, it’s Sunnah. “Maybe I don’t.”

I know I am yet worthy.

Please, come back.

[all in the msa] #2: the other side

january 2017

“Why are we having a meeting on New Year’s Day literally what is wrong with us?”

Officially, Rayyan is the lookout. She is, after all, the one with an Apple watch—and Sobia’s own phone is dying.

“That’s what coffee is for,” Nora says, and with all her authority as their vice president: “It’ll be quick, Sobi.”

“We’re never quick.” Especially when their meeting is scheduled around Adult World lunch time, especially because they are currently in an extremely long line at Dunkin’ Donuts, but Rayyan is determined to obtain her coffee and Nora is determined to obtain her doughnut. Sobia says, “Do you think maybe we should get them something, too? As a peace offering? Would that be weird?”

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[all in the msa] #1: donut panic

january 2017

“Well,” says Mustafa, frowning deeply, “that sure was a semester.”

Yusuf blinks up from the conference table, where he and MH have spread out playmats, newly determined to complete a match before the girls finally arrive. “That’s putting it mildly, ya akhi.”

“Look,” says Mustafa, then breathes audibly, a relaxation technique identifiable from December’s pre-finals de-stressing event. “I’m trying this new thing where I only highlight positivity, alright?”

Muhammad snorts and dispassionately sets two cards face-down, gaze shuffling between Yusuf’s field, Mustafa’s erratic pacing, and his own hand of Yu-Gi-Oh! cards. “Donald Trump is going to be President of the United States in, like, three weeks,” he says. “It’s not like the coming of the Hour is news.”

“Oh, my God,” Mustafa says, and stares with saucer-eyes at nothing, like he’s seeing the idea manifest in front of him. “I need to sit down.”

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