“The Story of a Gypsy Dancer”

(Art work found on Sufi Friends, and Negarkhaneh.)


Click here for a PDF


At Slice’s Literary conference last September, I attend a panel titled (something like) “How to Write When Finding Time is Impossible.” Middle of the afternoon, after having taught a class earlier that morning, I began dozing off, tuning back, dozing off. Between the snooze, however, a ray of light came in from a high window into the lecture hall. My eyes widened, and I stared at the way the light reflected off the metal of the table mics, and suddenly a glow appeared over the panelists’ head. It was bizarre and intriguing, the effect of the light, and it certainly helped me to concentrate on the discussion. That’s when the first image of the “bed sheets,” along with a handful of allusive descriptions to the body, came to mind, and I jotted down what would be the first paragraph of what later became this story. (Edit in 2020: I deleted the name, since the piece is going to publications!)


A week later I completed a rough draft, and presented it to my fiction workshop. For the version you read today, I would like to thank my peers from that class, my professor Sigrid Nunez, and my friend Ahmed Shaibani, whose conversations about philosophy and the Levant inspired much of the piece.


Hope you enjoy.



Have you ever had roz bhaleeb? What do you think is on Kabir’s peel? Leave your comment below.

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