by Hamza Bilbeisi

This work appears in Khabar Keslan Issue 1. DISORIENT

Aqaba, Jordan Wikicommons.

Aqaba, Jordan Wikicommons.

Mama told us not to swim past the rope. Even from the beach, we could see how the sea split shades of blue. Past the line, the water was deep and filled with our wildest imagination. We wanted to swim past the rope to reach the red mountain ridge on the other side. 

You can’t swim there; that land is occupied. Each time, we would wait until she napped, then paddle our feet as fast as possible. We reached the edge of the universe when we reached the rope covered in thick seaweed, and the fish were the galaxies we could not see yet. 

Hamza Bilbeisi is a short story writer from Amman, Jordan. He was born and raised in the capital, and a large chunk of his upbringing was also spent in Aqaba, where his mother’s family is from. He is focused on exploring themes of masculinity, mental health, childhood, westernization, and political occupation. He is looking to carve ways for regional creatives to produce art without succumbing to a ‘Western’ lens. He primarily distributes his work through Instagram (@ketabhamza) and hopes he can help form a community for young creatives from the MENA region to also put forward their creative outlets. Hamza is constantly looking for more themes to explore and finds comfort in the small, overlooked details of his surroundings and interpersonal relationships. He also writes poetry, sometimes.