July/Aug 2022 • Vol. XLIV No. 4 |

Mangroves on My Mind

Before, there were sea forests. Swaths of green at the edge of the city, swarm-thick as far as the eye could see, they articulated a lush margin on one side of the Boat Club’s horizon. Briny air, sour with the taint of petrol: I’d bring my elbow to my nose. The Boat Club, built along the creek, was a swanky colonial vestige. It hosted regattas and annual Christmas parties, which I attended in prickly woolen stockings and a frock from faraway London that my aunt plucked from the off-season sales rack at Marks and Spencer each year in advance of her visit back to the homeland. There, on the waters of the Arabian Sea, we slipped in and slid out of parallel, taciturn hemispheres that shifted like dappled sunlight. A phantom elsewhere danced about us. I sensed it as a hollow that shadowed me but that I could not insert myself into, could not smell or taste or feel. Mine was a spectral belonging tinged with yearning. I treaded the currents of two worlds, one tangible, the other imag

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Photo of Humera Afridi
Humera Afridi is at work on a biography of the musician, writer, and decorated Second World War hero Noor Inayat Khan. Afridi is a 2021 recipient of the Robert and Ina Caro Travel/Research Fellowship and was a 2017 NYFA Gregory Millard Artist Fellow in Nonfiction Literature. Her essays have appeared in, among other publications, Literary Hub, Granta, and the Journal of Postcolonial Writing.

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(Re)vision

By Shara Lessley

Before, there were sea forests. Swaths of green at the edge of the city, swarm-thick as far as the eye could see, they articulated a lush margin on one side […]

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