Haqq

Stefani J. Alvarez

(Saudi Arabia)


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Translated by Alton Melvar M. Dapanas

Content warning: contains scenes of a sexual nature.

Hindi natin tatawirin ang King Fahad causeway ngayong gabi. Nais ko mang panoorin ang pelikula sa sine, ngunit alam kong hindi kailanman ipapalabas sa Bahrain cinema ang Nymphomaniac ni Lars von Trier. Online nating pinanood. Sa loob ng lampas apat na oras, na hinati sa limang kabanata ang Volume 1 at tatlong kabanata para sa Volume 2, panay ang lingon mo sa akin habang abala ang iyong mga daliring hawak ang iyong misbahah. Dahil ba walang Arabic subtitle ang nakasalang na pelikula? O sa nakakapanlaway na orgasmo ng bida? Ipinaliwanag ko sa iyo ang nakatatak sa screen na 3 + 5 nang kangkangin si Joe. Tatlong beses sa puki at limang beses sa puwet nito.

“And those are the numbers in the Fibonacci sequence.” Iyon ang idinugtong kong pahayag base sa inabangan kong panayam kay Lars sa isang TV show. Hindi mo na inungkat. At kahit ako’y nalito kung nasaan ang unang apat na numero, ang 0, 1, 1 at 2 sa unang hanay nito. Sinundan natin ang pelikula. Sinundan hanggang sa katapusan.

Ngunit alam kong hindi tayo roon magtatapos. Malalim na ang gabing binibilang ng aking dila ang bawat butil ng iyong rosaryo. Sisimulan ko sa tatlumpu’t tatlong Subhan’Allah, susundan ng tatlumpu’t tatlong Alhamdullilah, at magtatapos sa tatlumpu’t tatlong Allahuakbar. Na, sadya kong huling babanggitin ay ang iyong pangalan. Ibabaon mo ang iyong pangil sa aking likod. Mapapaungol ako. 

At aatungal kang parang aso
ngunit hindi ako 
isa sa siyam na pu’t siyam na butil 
ng iyong misbahah
hahayaan kong mapigtas 
ang kuwintas
kakalat iyon 
sa ating kama
tila mga gutom na surot
magkukubli sa mga siwang 
mangalaglag sa ating pagitan

*****

Tonight, we would not cross the King Fahad causeway. Despite dreadfully wanting to see the film in a movie house, I knew Lars von Trier’s Nymphomaniac would never be released in Bahrain. So we streamed it instead. For more than four hours, in the five chapters of volume 1 and three of volume 2, you fixed your gaze at me while your fingers clutched on your misbahah. Was it because the movie was not subtitled in Arabic? Or because of the heroine’s mouth-watering orgasm? To you, I shed light on what the 3 + 5 stamped on the screen meant when Joe was fucked. Three times in the pussy, five in the ass.

“And those are the numbers in the Fibonacci sequence.” That’s what I said after having seen an anticipated TV interview with Lars. That was the last of your questions. Even I was baffled by where the first four numbers were—the 0, 1, 1 and 2—in the first row. Still, we watched the movie. Watched it until the end credits.

But I knew we had not yet come to an end. Deep into the night, my tongue would tally your every prayer beads. I would begin with 33 Subhan’Allah, followed by 33 Alhamdullilah, and end with 33 Allahuakbar. Now, the last thing I would mouthe is your name. Your fangs pierced my back. I moaned.

Then your wolfish whimpers
yet I am not
one of the 99 beads
of your misbahah
I will let 
the loop snap
so its pellets disperse
across our sheets
as if starved fleas
concealed in the crevices
plunging down between us

Stefani J. Alvarez

is a

Guest Contributor for Panorama.

Alton Melvar M. Dapanas

is an

Assistant Nonfiction Editor for Panorama.

Alton Melvar M Dapanas (they/them), essayist, poet, and translator from the southern Philippines, is the author of In the Name of the Body: Lyric Essays (Canada: Wrong Publishing, 2023) and Towards a Theory on City Boys: Prose Poems (UK: Newcomer Press, 2021). Published from South Africa to Japan, from France to Australia, and translated into Chinese and Swedish, their latest works have appeared in World Literature Today, BBC Radio 4, Oxford Anthology of Translation, Sant Jordi Festival of Books, and the University of Alabama Press anthology Infinite Constellations. Their lyric essay has been nominated to the Pushcart Prize and their prose poem was selected for The Best Asian Poetry. Formerly with Creative Nonfiction magazine, they’re editor-at-large at Asymptote and assistant nonfiction editor at Panorama: The Journal of Travel, Place, and Nature and Atlas & Alice Literary Magazine. Find more at https://linktr.ee/samdapanas.

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