Shurouq Ibrahim

We have become unfamiliar friends, World.
Yes, we probably knew each other last year.
Perhaps we attended a one-day free yoga class together in German Village.
Weren’t you at my wedding?
Let us blame it on the year, friend.
You are right,
We have become long-distance acquaintances
because of this social distancing thing.
I cannot remember, I do not remember.
I have been preoccupied as I am sure you have been.
I walk out the door with a mask in hand and an ache in my chest.
Not from the virus, but from fear of the virus.
I walk, and I see three letters etched in the sidewalk: BLM.
An ache in the stomach.
I see potholes in the middle of the road,
that somehow look smaller than they did before.
Large flags fly from neighboring houses,
houses that seemed to like me before.
Signs in windows which seem muddled now.
I have never been so overwhelmed by a color before.
Red: the color of fire, the color of unforeseeable things to come.
It triggers something in me, sending me back to 2016 and that sleepless night,
and that uncomfortable morning after, and those anxiety-ridden four years that followed.
I am sorry, friend.
I will be better, I promise.
I am writing more, I am baking more, I am even blogging now.
I have a son who I am sure you will meet one day.
He was born at the beginning of it all.
I worry about his little hands, and what they hold.
I am working from home, so call anytime.
Not anytime, but any time after 4:00.
See, some things remain the same.
Some things never change.
There is some comfort in that, no?

Shurouq Ibrahim is a Palestinian-American poet residing in Ohio. She writes about the taboo in Arab-American culture, mainly mental health, divorce, and domestic violence.