the bus. the beige. the indestructible. is always here at 6, near the corner of the pitch of cobblestones housing the one grocery in Al Khan that kept the tabs open for its shoplifters. it is sometimes here at 6:20 but only if Mr. Billal holds it up for his 3 kids, straight As, always groggy for roti and chole.

Stephen’s iPod. from which he offers one earphone. still don’t care much for the playlist. but we do listen to smells like teen spirit, religiously, cranked up and without remorse.
Astro turf, and you would return for rollcall with something dislocated. the line of sight to the opposing net points to a who’s who of oligarchs, the sheikhs with oil money, the young lords in finance, others in less respectable professions.

They give Irtaza shit for his weight. And he, mashallah, still, does not give a shit. i liked him. even after he tackled me to the ground to tell me that I was ugly as fuck. and definitely not his type.

You hang out at the western wall of the basketball court. public. wild incisor sticking out your gums. six times out of ten in the process of being greeted. You are never catching your breath.

I am hiding in the prayer room. the bills are paid. the conductors’ hands are forsaken piston rods. like an iron up and down the seam. crisp over the yoke. tunneling. being saved. confessing. underwhelming. being done.

There is always a line to the water fountain at 7:55.


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