Dhuha Awad

Edition April 2020

My Name - by Dhuha Awad (Photo by Dhuha Awad).jpgPhoto credit: Dhuha Awad

My Name

By Dhuha Awad

ضُحى is my name
she wished to call me Sally
she thought about calling me Angie
Anne was another name she adored
the name of a princess that lives on
while I slowly moved around in her tight womb
She flipped through pages of names in her head
what shall I call you? She asked while stroking her bump
Sally, Angie or Anne?
Darling husband what do you think?
“No, no, it has to be an Arabic name.” He insisted

And I was born to the 10am arms of the clock
to the Sun up in the sky on a November morning
cold and bright
sun glistering, shivering in the cold blues
reflecting on the golden leaves, scattered on the ground
Autumn with its cool-warm embrace
to that moment my cries of a new life emerged
My calls for a reunion with those I knew and yet met again for the first time
I screamed and shrieked
struggled and fought
and gave up all at the end
to one true loving cuddle

And they called me ضُحى
A morning prayer
A sacred time in the day
mentioned in the Quran twice
with two dedicated chapters to its honour
A name with the Sun on its way to approach the centre of heaven
A name my parents decided to give me
The name of a daughter’s friend
A name they loved, and still love
but to the world around me I am Dhuha
or Doha the capital of Qatar
or Duha a call to God
or Dhahoha
or “Shall I just call you D?”
with another classic “Have you thought about changing your name?”
Moments when my longing for the sound of ضُحى overwhelms me
only three letters
as hard as the name sounds
as musical as it is to my yearning ears
I miss being called ضُحى
I crave it
for I have lost myself in the sound of Dhuha
with all its variations and accents
and ضُحى becomes a far distant memory of a little girl
long gone to play
and did not make it back
lost in the winds of time

Dh for the ض
my father would say
but Dh can never replace the ض
the hardest letter to utter
an H can never make the sound of ح

I was born in London
and yet
I was given the name with the hardest Arabic letters to pronounce
I live with it every day
I live with a name where people avoid calling me
I live with a name that makes it easier for me to forget others’ names
and no guilt attached
for I am certain they cannot recall mine
and yet my desire to hear ضُحى mounts
grows with passion and lust

She wanted me to be Anne or Sally
how different would I have become as a Sally or an Anne?
as names imprint on us
and we become the name
that engulf us with the aura of its letters
I would never know what would have been my other fate
for I am and I will remain ضُحى
a.k.a. Dhuha or D

Return to the top