Thankful for

12 Ramadan 1441

I taught my last class of the semester yesterday.

And I am thankful for so many things today. 

I am thankful for being able to breathe deeply. 

I am thankful for my stoop dwellers. 

I am thankful for witnessing another Ramadan.

I am thankful for the leftovers in my fridge, for light pouring in through my window, for the leaves finally sprouting from the trees, for the decrease in the incessant wailing of sirens, for the smooth R&B on one side of the street mixing with bachata on the other.

I am thankful for my jeans and hoodie. 

I am thankful for my husband’s Muslim students who tried to leave class early and be smooth about it by letting him know they are also fasting because it’s Ramadan and he’s like, But, I, uh, already end class a few minutes early?

I am thankful for kindness and compassion.

I am thankful for people who notice the details.

I am thankful for the Fenty KILAWATT highlighter I received in the mail that made me cry, then made me freak out that maybe Riri saw me making stuff with the stuff that I have, and then made me cry again when I realized who sent it. 

I am thankful for friends who are recovering. 

I am thankful for death before pandemic times. 

I am thankful for dreams, especially good dreams, and especially dreams that come as a four-part series in which the third part includes elderly marathon runners in hot pink joggers, hot pink wristbands, and hot pink headbands led by a runner who asks, “Professor Ullah, do you have any advice for us?” and I responded, “Stay hydrated?” and then all the joggers pulled out water bottles from their chest pockets (because they all had chest pockets) and splashed each other in celebration. 

I am thankful for Surah Yusuf.

I am thankful for Yusuf saying for all of eternity هَٰذَا تَأْوِيلُ رُؤْيَايَ 

I am thankful for closure.

I am thankful for books.

I am thankful that Malcolm X decided he needed to tell his story because he knew others would try to tell it for him; that Pride and Prejudice was a great distraction for those newly quarantined and social distancing; that Toni Morrison wrote in a way that compassionately loves each of her imperfect characters; that Virginia Woolf broke our hearts with the passing of time; that Claudia Rankine implicated all of us in her use of “You;” that Ibn Hazm appeals to the nerdiest of nerds who are masters of prosody or appreciate scientific detailing of behaviors symptomatic of love; that Montaigne could make death less scary and see through the lie that claims European superiority over Native barbarity; that Dante could open up conversations to think very deeply about what we mean when we talk about justice and punishment; that Othello does not feel too far off in the distant past and that the play conjures memories of Richard Wright’s Native Son; that Don Quixote suffered the pandemic; that Luke, John, and Confessions reveal much about the minds of the writers who composed them.

I am thankful for teaching. I am thankful for my students’ tears. I am thankful for my own. 

I am thankful for the student who couldn’t complete her sentence, Professor, I wanted to thank…I wanted to say…I don’t…this experience was beautiful…

I am thankful for my students who wanted to know what I will be teaching next year.

I am thankful for the indignation of my GS students, many of whom have lost their jobs and cannot make rent, when they learned that my department sent me a formal letter that my contract would not be renewed.   

I am thankful for my loving family. 

I am thankful for my petty siblings. 

I am thankful I can read and write. 

I am thankful Galaxy Gourmet Deli still makes chopped cheese sandwiches. 

I am thankful I’m a good cook. 

I am thankful for artists who get it.

I am thankful my cousin had a baby. 

I am thankful for funny memes and text messages.

I am thankful for late night phone and zoom calls. 

I am thankful for real friends who still feel comfortable making fun of me even though we are in pandemic times.   

I am thankful for choices. 

I am thankful for limited options. 

I am thankful for writing prompts. 

I am thankful the emperor, who never had any clothes on, is standing butt naked for the world to see. 

I am thankful I can’t remember everything I should be thankful for. 

I am thankful for gratitude. 



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