nafyahay wanaag baad ku weynaatay wa waajib inaad waya aragta
once an old man kissed me on the forehead because he’d loved my grandfather. my grandmother loved my grandfather. even as she buried her first child alone, even as he continuously left her to warm another wife’s bed, she loved him with heart and arms wide open.
every winter is xaliimo’s last winter in the states. i’m leaving, she says like clockwork every december. some women make vows they know they cannot keep. some women dream of returning, but have nothing to go back to.
eventually you realize, go or stay, either way you lose.
when aabo looked at all the pictures i took of hargeisa, he shook his head in disbelief. some men look at recent photographs and fail to recognize a single sight. some return years later and walk around the cities of their boyhood as strangers.
sometimes i wonder if i loved you or if i was looking for a reason to stay. i was (still am, maybe always will be) untethered.
home is two oceans away. i never learned how to swim. picture me: girl on a foreign shoreline, listening wildly for her name.
by Jamila Osman