God in the Chicken Coop

by Hananah Zaheer

I wanted to see God, and he said he would show Him to me. What God was doing in the chicken coop behind our house, I never knew. But we huddled in there, praying for it, skin against skin, hand against new breasts, mouth inside a mouth. We stayed, sometimes all afternoon, me blinking, trying to breathe, holding still until the simmering, slow panting of the Lahore summers grew so loud that I worried I would not hear Him. That's it, he would say. You will see, you just have to look. And I did, through the wires in the small skylight, meant to give the chickens the illusion of freedom. I saw it in the sparkle of clouds moving above the minaret of the mosque down the street, in the stillness of the treetops, new with budding flowers. Somewhere in the midst of the fluttering, the noise, the chickens, I think, saw it too. They calmed their desperate slams against the wall, stopped the pecking, searching for sustenance, and looked up at the sky and were still.

BIO: Hananah Zaheer lives, writes, and generally tries to suck the marrow out of life in Dubai. She is currently working on a novel and can be found @hananahzaheer.