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God in the Highest
By Suha Kudsieh


He knows

that I listen to hard rock – the devil’s music;

that my brother is begging my parents to let him buy a motorbike;

that my sister flunked her last Arabic exam;

that my mother professes she doesn’t like sweets,

but hides chocolate bars in her drawers;

that my father prefers the food of local stalls to my mother’s.


He knows

when Umm Ahmad has her period;

that her youngest daughter is crazy for the boy next door;

that the owner of the grocery shop on the ground floor

mixes milk with water and flour with fine dirt;

that Umm Ashraf wants to get pregnant

again, but her husband is unwilling;

that Khalil didn’t tell his parents about the raise he received;

that Farid is contemplating suicide or immigration;

that Salim and Karima are having an affair;

they text and sext secretly at night – when their parents go to bed.


He knows

that Farida is getting married to a doctrinaire;

that her mother boasts of her unrivaled cooking skills,

but always overcooks the meat and burns the rice;

that her father is trying to stop smoking for the tenth time.


He is the pitcher with big ears,

the fly on the wall.

He lives on the highest floor.

He is our secret agent.

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