One jewel at a time

4 a.m. shouldn’t exist. Half awake, half in dream. Headlights outside strobed like a spaceship. And inside the mind, a door unhinged spilling all the things I’d locked up. Why was I awake? Stop clenching your eyes, I told myself. Haram sah, Haram sah – the mantra I repeated over and over to the sleep gods, but they never helped. Maybe because I just realized I’ve been doing them wrong for quite a long time. Ham – sa, the sound of our breath. I’ve been breathing with extra syllables.

The other night I had a dream about a poetry class. It was taught by my high school creative writing teacher. She adored me and I adored her, but she terrified me. She was so intelligent, scary intelligent and I never felt like I could live up. But she loved my poetry and when you’re a teenager, everything you write is mostly angst and she helped me learn the difference.
In my dream, she was teaching again in a class full of poets, smart poets, poets way more intelligent than me, more read, theorized, experienced. Just more. They were outspoken and brazen and looked like poets with dark hats and messy shirts. Even the room looked like a poet’s room – Parisian Gothic: green cracked walls, oil lamps, blacks and golds.
I was so shy. I didn’t say anything. But I could feel a boiling inside me. I knew there was something flickering despite what I still didn’t know, would never know.
My teacher had written titles on the board with strange symbols and ones I had never heard before. I feverishly wrote them down. I got up from the desks while a discussion was going on and went to a windowsill where tons of pairless earrings were laid out. They were thick earrings, with translucently hued stones. A faint pink, a faint blue. I scanned the jewels and found a match for one and placed them side by side. And then slowly, I didn’t care how long it took, I searched for the pairs to place them together.

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