Ramadan Day 2

5 haiku – by Sonia Sanchez

(for Sarah Vaughan)


Me in midair

sailing underneath

your lips.


we don’t stare

we don’t seem to care

are we a pair?


where are the clowns

are they all stampeding

my house?


without your

residential breath

i lose my timing.


send in the clowns

There is space

above the air.


It is the second morning of Ramadan and already I am filled with dread of mishap.  I don’t think I drank enough water.  It was 3:57 before I knew it.  I did not digest well – and the burger I had last night (and partly this morning) upset me.  Perhaps it was the 11pm coffee run, a paltry excuse to do double-duty on a caffeine headache and prolong my time with my dear friend from Texas.  I had vivid dreams about a woman I dated briefly, and the dream might have been longer than our journey.  They always say that the people in your dreams are stand-in’s for other people, or for an idea, a trouble, a worry.  Is it like that with the people in our waking lives?

Some things I am thankful for:

1. I am thankful that I gulped down some water before 3:57.

2. I am thankful that my pocket had some money, as Ruth Forman put it, and I got a great burger last night.

3. I am thankful to spend time with a human I am dating who may be the kindest person I have ever dated.  About this, my Texan friend, who is single-handedly fighting those gnat-like, ill-conceived perceptions that Southerners are ignorant, exclaimed:  well, that’s quite an accomplishment.  I don’t remember, on account of mind being fried and pickled, exactly what she said, so that’s a rough translation.  But I do wonder if thinking about somebody’s lips during the fast is something one shouldn’t do?  But if I stop having sex or sexual thoughts, am I no longer queer?  Did Allah say something to me, or was it coming from the lips of a well-meaning, but vicious, crowd?

4. I am thankful that I wrote a short story after I read the poem The Speed of Belief by Tracy K. Smith and that my workshop instructor said to me the following:  I like that you are in conversation with Tracy K. Smith.  I am in conversation with!  I had never thought to use that phrase before.  It instantly rendered the fat from my story arcs and made me realize what it is that I have been doing since I’ve been writing.  I am in conversation with you, and you, and you!

5. I am thankful for Nicorette and how it takes the edge off of a short haircut.

6. I am thankful for this line from Kazim Ali’s Fasting for Ramadan:

I have a particular love of sudden storms, of racing

for the top floors to close all the windows.

7. I am thankful for Hurricane Sandy and all the ways it cleared out the world around me, blotted it with rainy fists, and now I see more clearly.

8. I am thankful to be writing this fasting journal in conversation with Kazim Ali.  Also with Rumi, with Hafiz, with Sonia Sanchez, with Aimee Herman, with Ruth Forman, with my family (mom, Bernice, Justin, Aaron, and Phineas and Booker!), with Ms. O’Husain and family, with Don Eletreby, with Courtni, with Roopa, with Cecilia, with Debbie, with Donna, with Zahra, with an ex who traumatized me but also introduced me to Ramadan, and with all the many Muslims in the world who are fasting and who I may or may not know.

9. I am thankful for the following encounter:  the one woman in hijab who I said Ramadan Mubarak to yesterday gathered her children and walked quickly from me.  I could hardly blame her, as we are strangers, but I stopped saying hi to other people on the street because of these reasons: A. I didn’t want to startle or antagonize anyone (we live in a particular climate of Islamophobia) B. I am not recognized on the street as someone who is fasting.  Perhaps I should not be so quick to assume the identities, behaviors, and thoughts of others on the street and C. It’s Ramadan and while the feeling feels important, these thoughts do not.  I just don’t have the energy.

10. I am thankful for the O’Husain’s giving me a prayer rug because the floor smelled funny when I prayed in my room without it.

I promised myself I would not write for as long as I did yesterday after Sehar so this is a list of only 10 Gratitudes.

As Don Eletreby reminded me:  “It’s Sehar dude.”

Salaam, dear readers!


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