All in personal stories


It was from his father that Tamer had first learned of Alex Odeh. Tamer’s father, Mourid, kept newspaper clippings about Odeh in his office at the autoshop. They were the only images Mourid had, aside from photographs of Leila, Tamer’s mother, who had died shortly after Tamer was born.


Jamil stared at the blinking cursor, the blank virtual page on the computer screen, and wondered if he really hadn’t lived enough for the words to start coming automatically. Had anyone ever lived enough? Maybe it was a pointless question to ask oneself at twenty-two.

Invisible Words in the Empty Air

Breakfast, then work and school. Back home, then dinner: cheeses, labne, cucumbers, shai maʿ naʿ naʿ (tea with mint). Four years inched by. No sound but the gentle smacking of lips, the mechanical sips of shai. Dina used to watch the steam from the shai, the fumes from the cigarettes her father smoked at the table (as everywhere else) and imagine it was Jibran’s ghost. Maybe Jibran would slip in to their noses, their mouths, and shoot to their ear canals, stopping their ears translucently. Then everything would seem still. Jibran could keep carving invisible words in the empty air. 

Passage to Palestine

As a kid, I always looked for Palestine on the map and was confused as to why I couldn’t find it. It wasn’t on the atlas in class or in the textbooks.  Throughout my twelve years of public education, only my seventh-grade teacher went out of his way to educate students about something that was not even in the curriculum when it should have been.