Knives and Forks by Hibah Shabkhez

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Narrated by Hibah Shabkhez

Knives and Forks by Hibah Shabkhez
Illustration by Sue Babcock

This is the ‘after’ song. This is the song of a sock looking for its missing other, in a world where socks again hold meaning. This is the song of watching airplanes by day and by night with a childhood-like exultation born of their long absence, and of slowly learning to take them for granted again. This is the song of family tiffs that just end or drift away upon the scent of pizza, that do not become deadlocked into weeklong trench warfare. This is the song of not Googling for hours if it’s forks and knives or knives and forks, of not trying to discover if spoons pair off with plates or bowls. This is the song of not wondering if the seagulls are still complaining about the pigeons by the river, or if without our bread they’ve become friends. This is the song of grumbling and scurryfunging with secret joy as the Sackville-Baggins’s pull into the driveway, of watching Bilbo and Lobelia tilt at each other with unholy amusement ill-concealed. This is the song of no longer caring that the strange-cakes quiz called you a dry cake stuffed with almonds on all three attempts while your Facebook friends got to be black forests. This is the song of sitting together on long lazy evenings to speculate, à propos, of nothing, if the mummy they pretended to wake would have said some ancient words of wisdom, if it really did start talking, or if he would have sworn at the insect that killed him and asked for the latest court gossip. This is the ‘after’ song for a world where chocolate patisseries topped with whipped cream are not the only cures for loneliness of the soul.


BIO: Hibah Shabkhez is a writer of the half-yo literary tradition, an erratic language-learning enthusiast, a teacher of French as a foreign language and a happily eccentric blogger from Lahore, Pakistan. Her work has previously appeared in Wellington Street Review, Black Bough, Nine Muses, Borrowed Solace, Ligeia, Cordite Poetry, and a number of other literary magazines. Studying life, languages and literature from a comparative perspective across linguistic and cultural boundaries holds a particular fascination for her.