Foreign, or Nyctophobia in Twelve Parts

BY OLUWATOMISIN OREDEIN




i.

In broken English she says her name is Risha. Or something close to it. I don’t remember. It is stuck, lodged between reaction and welcome. The moment confuses me; my memory does not fixate on her name, but on how suffocating the moment feels.


My feelings mimic hers—scared and friendly, hostile and hospitable—certain about how confusing the world can be.


Memphis is oblivious.


ii.


Memphis is an adorable little thing—mostly black with some of white and a little bit of brown. But mostly black. Memphis the city isn’t that much different.


I read somewhere that black dogs are not adopted as frequently as white dogs or brown dogs—something about the fur color mirroring racial perception.


 iii.


In Memphis, I live in an area where many of my neighbors have dogs. This pleases my dog Memphis, who is always curious to meet other dogs and excited to get love from people on his daily walks.


I walk him three times a day around the same times: six, noon, and six during which someone usually makes a