I wonder, now, of all the stories she might have told had I worked harder to defy her, to learn her native language. I wonder how much more I have lost of my mother because I could not truly speak to her.
“The woman in the picture is not just different from what I remember of her, or want to remember: she is a ghost, like the ghosts I would see on strips of negatives as a girl. In daylight I would hold them up to my eye, trying to guess who they were, and when I grew bored of this, I would fashion these haunted ribbons into bracelets round my wrist.”
“While my writing is autobiographical, I don’t feel beholden to the facts because I’m using the materials of my life to create a story. The purpose is not to tell people that this is what happened, nor should people read my work in order to find out about my life. I want people to read these essays as works of literature, stories.”
A long time ago, my Persian mother became a prophet, like Tiresias, and she told me I would die. But what does she know? She was cursed for interrupting love, for not allowing it.
In our Spring 2018 issue, Frances McCue teaches American Literature in Marrakesh, Iman Mersal (translated by Robin Moger) searches for her mother in an old photograph, and Nahal Suzanne Jamir reflects on the dreams surrounding her mother’s loss of vision.
Fiction by Jane Bradley, Nicholas Delbanco, Ally Glass-Katz, and Fahima Haque.
Poetry by Benjamin Alfaro, Fady Joudah, Shane McCrae, David Mura, Nkosi Nkululeko, Jacqueline Osherow, Lena Khalaf Tuffaha, and Kamelya Youssef.