April 24 – #NPM17

I couldn’t tell you in any of the ways I knew how, it was strange because I spoke too often and so loud you often told me to shut up, but when I opened my mouth, I was always distracted. Your cheeks looked like freshly picked apples in the light, I wanted to sink my teeth into them. On Monday morning I felt the words rising in my throat like bile only I was stupid enough to look at you and I swear that I forgot what day it was because you were so fucking beautiful standing in the light falling from the open kitchen windows that God himself couldn’t have forced the sentiment from my mouth. And that’s how it went, I tried and I lost it, there was always something to derail me and I could never explain to you how even the spread of freckles across your nose turned my stomach so heavily that I couldn’t remember what languages I’d learned. Sometimes I whispered them to you in Bengali at night whilst you were lying across my stomach, over and over again like the lyrics from a favorite song and you’d ask me in your sleepy voice what I meant and all I could say was ‘I’m asking if you’ll make me a sandwich.’ You’d pinch my stomach and roll your eyes until your lashes fluttered against my skin and curse in frustration. Sometimes you kissed me so hard I wondered if you were trying to lick the words out of my mouth.

I tried to tell you in other ways, quietly and gently, I bought your favorite blend of chocolate milk and didn’t let anyone drink it because when your stomach hurt you’d put your head on my shoulder and cradle the cup in your hands. I learned your favorite song on guitar and it took me three whole weeks to pluck up the courage to show you but I peeked under my lashes when I was playing and your smile, boy, it looked like rain on desert and it was worth the sore nails. You asked me to play on Saturday night, you told me that you wished I could say it, but I couldn’t so I strummed it through my fingers instead and let you eat the last slice of cake. You must have known then, when I shook for you at night and held your hands until my nails were tattoos on your skin, when I sat through hours of Lord of the Rings for you, that even though you hadn’t heard me say it yet, I was still telling you in a thousand different ways, I was still telling you.


Azra Tabassum – from the book “Shaking the Trees”


Asia Samson – “Alive”

Published by Robbie Williford

Writer from Flint, Michigan. Partial but slowly becoming. Educator. Storyteller. Bashful. Paying attention to the quiet.

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