Go to the bakery, tell them I sent you. Buy bread that smells of tetas print shirts and jidos tar black coffee. The day sits on the table like a welcome mat, praising radishes under clear plastic—an untouched treasure far from the colonizers iron-spread.
Check the date, flex the bread, if it bends like the middle of the week, tell the man behind the counter with my great-uncles eyes you’ll cradle it in your arms as your mother formed you in mercy.
Carry a spoon in your pocket. Make sure its backgammon board smooth; the crashing of dice audible with hollers of “sish bish” when you peek in your pocket.
Take your time coming over. Roam the broken pavement littered with sunflower seeds and orange heads. Say salaams, marhaba, ce va, people on the porches remember the old ways and the older women won’t mind if you stopped to pick grape-leaves off their vine-lined fence.
Don’t knock on the door when you arrive; walk in and acknowledge that we're one, shout “ya allah” as you enter so no one mistakes you as an occupier. You’ll know it by the mint lining the flowerbeds, my grandfathers too many tomatoes, and Abu-Ali washing his Cadillac. The true sliver hand hanging sleek above the door; its blue eye blinking reminding you to mind your got-dammed business. Take off your shoes, Harvard studies agree.
I didn't ask you to get Labne because Vicktors was 2 for 5 last week and hoarding isn't a thing when its (middle-eastern), southwest asian spread. At the oak table, you ask who’s Viktor and hand me the spoon. I say he's not white like I imagined when I was younger but kind of like me, in-between definitions, belonging somewhere past angry red and green lines.
I guide the spread in circles presupposed along the bread. I use to dream I tell you, of garbage floating helplessly in the sea and all the browner smiles, folding like the bark of crisp cedar trees winking in the day.
I roll the sandwich and then then another. We start to nibble and sit a while. The kettle wails and I confess a secret I swore to the grave; I've only gone back home once.