The husband did not stop until he reached the ocean. Did not turn to wave at the woman he would widow.
On the farm outside Jamnagar they’d grown millet, but the drought hit, and then the famine.
The ocean was vast and burned his eyes, but the brightness boded well, he thought. In the dhow, with many other famished men, he did not eat for the first three days, trying to stretch his rotli and pickles all the way to Africa. It was terrible, being surrounded by water but parched inside.
At Mombasa, the colonial officer loaded them onto rail cars. All the way to Tsavo they sat in each other’s laps, breathing body stink and rotten breath and held-in urine.
He was not the first to cross. Maybe he knew he wouldn’t live to see the crush of others.
Excerpt from: ‘The Widow’.
I am Editor-in-Chief of The Common. I have an MFA from the Bennington Writing Seminars. My short stories, translations, and essays have been published in journals such as Guernica, n+1, Ploughshares, Ascent, Sonora Review, Harper’s, The Millions, The New Inquiry, and Publishers Weekly. I teach literature, creative writing, and editing at Amherst College and NYU Abu Dhabi, and I’m completing a novel called The Limits of the World.
Thought Episodes: Norman Rush's Novels of Ideas, The Millions
A Rejoicing: Rereading Shirley Hazzard, Ploughshares
In Search of Past Dream Time: Two New Books by Andre Aciman, The Millions (Also: Q&A with Aciman)
The Destiny of Borges, Harper’s Magazine (Translator)
Inheritance, The Journal
The Widow, Guernica
The Real People, n+1
Homage to the Man-Eating Lions, Sonora Review
Pregnant Lady, What Are You Fighting For?, Dogwood
Fasting, Words & Images
Arabic Literature (in English).