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Isn’t that how it is?

Hilesh Patel

We swear, under the open roof, there is a word in gujarati for voice that
penetrates rock. Steam is light

orange in hindi & deep red in farsi & habibi is in between romance
novel & cement in english.

The images you see in the rearview are the worst part of the driving test.
That’s how it is, isn’t it

with ourselves outside in the sun? Inside we hide ourselves within the rain
falling on the stove.

Our english is on the perimeter of a recipe. That’s how it is, isn’t it? Almost
american is a stove without fire.

Dark orange is almost bringing a sandstorm of turmeric to grade school. Say
these words with me.

Chest pains in gold leaf, tea without cups, your name without vowels,
your name still warm

from the oven. Repeat after me. Fold your hands like a half-read book.
Say garam masala in lunch

room font. In your eyes is an english word for precipitation. But that’s how
it is, isn’t it? The rain

is getting upset. Repeat after me. The rain is getting upset.
That’s how it is, isn’t it?

Hilesh Patel is a writer, consultant, educator, artist, and member of the art group The Chicago ACT Collective. His writing investigates immigration, healing, memory, and the idea of living memorials. He was born in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and has called Chicago home for most of his life. You can find him on Instagram and Twitter at @hilesh.