Volume 23, Number 1


for R. H.

One can’t measure up to those who stay seated. Go ahead, flick through the channels while protests go on in the streets. Raise your fist in the air, swing it around a bit. If the revolution doesn’t come around this time, surely, there will be other opportunities. Promise your loved ones the next time you will be ready, on your feet and among the crowds. Give careful instructions to the ones who depend on you. Tell your mother not to light the stove. The couscous can wait. Tell your father not to worry his beads. Bring your baby brother along, because hope cannot be learned soon enough. Let the talking heads on Al-Jazeera broadcast to an empty room, to the chair that will still be warm from where you nested, perhaps just moments before. The one that will be waiting for your inevitable return.

—Michelle Reale