Shoof, habibi! Look, my love!

Under all those layers,

there’s you!

If you slow down and lean forward,

can you hear a call to prayer in the desert breeze?

It’s your soul awakening unto itself.

Brush away the sands of sadness, my love,

masked as disregard.

You’ve let them drift in and cover your feet.

Gently sweep aside the veil of your inattention.

You’ll find a strand of silver filigree

that graces your neck and adorns your words.

Fill the cups just once more with everyone else’s expectations.

Then take your glass of tea, habibi.

Let its warmth burn your fingers as you feel your own desires.

Set down the tray laden with your past.

You don’t need it anymore, my love.

Do you see how much lighter it feels?

Lift the hem of your dress, habibi,

and take a step past the fear that keeps you small like a secret.

Do you hear the lute calling?

Aji, habibi. Come, my love.

Step closer now, into the light of the fire.

Come dance to the music in your heart, and shine.

—Diane Douiyssi

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