George Hickman "Azizam"

We drove out into the dessert one night, cliff shadows hanging over our little metal canopy. Here we had shared the most intimate words, words we could not say in our apartment's thin walls. Even the smells of pomegranate and cinnamon chicken scared our quiet neighbors. All arguments were held in our car, driving seventy miles per hour, only the sand along the side of the road could hear the way we roared in our mother-tongue.

This time, something different was in the air. I could tell when we started to drive down a side street with no explanation, my wide-eyed glance uncaught by your determined eyes. You smiled and told me there was something you had been missing lately, and I pretended to know what you meant.

Together, we stepped out, loafers sliding in sand. You stuck a disc in the player and turned up the sound. Pulsating dance music, the exhales of our first language, brought a light to your eyes, one too long stifled by thin walls. Without asking permission, you started to sing, dancing circles in the night sand. I laughed, started to clap, started to kick my feet, scattering sand in the darkness. The looming cliffs above willingly echoed our sound, our ears pounding with the words of a singer I did not recognize, whose name I would ask you for on the drive home and quickly forget. Sometimes I hear his words though, boarding the bus, in line at the supermarket, or on the bench by the playground. He says, anywhere we are is home