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  • Writer's pictureriel fuqua

i check my email first thing in the morning,

riel fuqua

i check my email first thing in the morning,

and sift through paperless bill notices, 20% off select red wine coupons from the liquor barn back in lexington, & hello fresh begging me to come back. i scroll, unsubscribe, scroll, shuffle through my apps, see photos of 6 year old hind, & scroll some more. coffee is almost ready & i am in my pressed into my bed, the smell of coffee brewing in the air & the picture of hind pressed into my mind. i want to throw my phone as far as i can launch it.

hind was just 6 years old. i can hear my love pull a shot of espresso & i know he is doing his obligatory morning dance at his coffee station in the living room, next to the ficuses. i wonder which of the coffee mugs he's picked out for us, which creamer. i scroll. i try not to think about leaflets draping over bloodied bodies draped in white sheets & bombs falling down on bloodied bodies draped in white sheets & then i rise to an occasion i didn't ever ask for in the form of vitamin taking & donning clothes.

i do not remember putting the key in the ignition but i am now behind the wheel, backing out of the driveway after a goodbye kiss. i think of hind again. i think about hind's mother again. i think about love & goodbyes & goodbye kisses.

how many times did hind’s mother kiss her without knowing it would be their goodbye? how many times did any of them kiss the people they loved goodbye for the last time without knowing it would be the last time? how many have been stripped from the ability to live? how many have been blown from skin to limb to bone & denied to ability to love?

i drive across the bridge to work, airpods in, songs from curated playlists that promise me a good day blaring in my ears & in glances over the river, i see the gulls. i think of martyrs & all of the wailing & weeping i've watched on instagram in the last few months.

a wish turns in my stomach.

what magic has to happen for them to be able to fly? away from genocide?

i drive & my wishes are only privileges in comparison to 28,000 people who can never make a wish again.


riel fuqua (they/them/theirs) is a creative artist of many trades, each of them centering around the communicative art of storytelling. much of riel’s work focuses on the mosaic of experiences they have had as a Black, queer person residing in the Deep South, including navigating interpersonal relationships, sentiments both big and small, childhood memories, the nostalgia for reality before COVID-19, and the zest of Black, non-binary joy. riel currently resides in florence, alabama, where they spend most of their time romanticizing the necessary mundane - nourishing, resting, connecting, and daydreaming - while they balance work at both a local university and an art museum.

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