It is 3:46 A.M. July, 2019. This cockroach is a creature of habit, something that crawls out from the cracks right after the lights are out. Nobody sees it till it is right there, suddenly there, on that exact same spot every night. It has a look on it that tells you it is old, that it’s been waiting there for ages, waiting for something inevitable that never comes, always deferred. Its antennae, moving in a slow rhythm, sweep the air above its head.
When I read the list of companies who owned the now-ruined clothing factory in Dhaka, Bangladesh—New Wave Bottoms, New Wave Style, Ether Tex, Phantom Tec—I thought about my walks in Abu Dhabi, which have been driven from the start by following the bright spool of electric shop names wrapping around each block. It’s not so much the city lights that pull me out there as their measurement of my distance from home, conveyed not in watts but in the degree of mistranslation.