& everyone. Including my 11 year old frame
a circle of empty surrounding me & my violin
on the crowded bus the weeks after the towers
fell & then you blamed my skin. It was your feet
& broken glass that followed me around the field
when I showed up too early for soccer practice,
you who reminded me no sidewalk or park
would ever be mine. Anything coming from
a country ending in –stan steamed terror, towelhead,
exotic words I’d never heard, but now all my name but not
now all my resume but not. I know I must scare you,
white men, me with my heavy lidded eyes, loud
laugh & insistence on being here & heard.
Me, with my brown & fly until I die, me with my Islam
& tattoos & my uncle who changed his restaurant
to Afghani food the month after you threw bottles
against his windows & wrote go home terrorists
across all the menus. This is who I come from.
A man who said let them hate us & painted turbaned
men dragging a dying goat across the walls.
This is where I come from. These provinces
you can’t name, the wars you keep starting
& can’t win. Look at my people live. Look at my
people love. Look at how you drone our cities
& murder our children & we still find floor to dance.
Look how many heavens we have, just for us.
The world is full of people like me you want
to dissect, you want a name for everything
or else it’s free & not yours. Freedom outside
of whiteness is terror, food outside of whiteness
is spectacle, land outside of whiteness doesn’t
exist. White men, I know I make you afraid.
Me, with my colored rice, me with my name
you can’t pronounce, me without any land
& no intention to steal or pay you for a home
you can snatch up. Or burn down. Or hold a mirror
to & try to convince me I want more.