A few weeks before I left the north I waited at the bus stop with Akmed.
Do you have a wife and children? he asked.
I still have a wife, I said, because back then I did. No children.
You don’t want children?
Children come from Allah, he said, and motioned to the sky. If you are happy in your heart you will get a child.
How many from Somalia live here in the village? I asked.
It took five days to get here.
That is a long journey, I said. But how many Somalians have come here?
It took us five days, he said. We are happy when we arrive. But my wife is still in Somalia. I am twenty-three years old.
Travel equals desire, the intoxicating fog of temptation or the relief of survival. I once knew only travel, not arrival. I knew I could flee, but how could I picture myself five weeks older, three flights up a crooked staircase? I sleep between bell towers now, and my dreams click forward with their chimes. Today is a celebration of many things, because with November, Literary Bohemian reaches its one year birthday. We might wonder where we have arrived, but we will not pause before saying We are happy; this is good.