Write about writing in a tongue not yours, my friend advises. 
What does he know about this circular cylindrical psychedelic swirl of words?
The constant shifting between languages
Crossing haphazardly from one threshold to another
In the span of a sentence?
This daily shrinking of a twenty-eight letter alphabet 
Trading غين حاء عين ضاد for the Fourteenth Amendment
Dragging inshallah by the vowels from right to left.
English no longer my second language
Nor Arabic my first. 

Who am I and what am I and how am I but a hollowed-up formation
Homing in on scraps 
Scurrying for breadcrumbs
Before taking off in a startled huff
To settle in a place of fear
And call it home. 

HAJER ALSMOSLEH is a writer, poet, and traveler. Mother of four grown-up fierce women in their 20s. Almosleh’s poems, essays, and short stories have appeared in English and Arabic in Nowhere Near a Damn RainbowBroken MirrorsAnd We Chose EverythingUncommon Dubai, Parhelion, and The Phoenix Review. In 2013, her short story “Gone” won the Abu Dhabi Book Fair and The National’s short story competition. 

The Winners of The National’s Short Story Competition