To The White Men Who Fear Everything

& 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.


8 thoughts on “To The White Men Who Fear Everything

  1. Reblogged this on The Gloria Sirens and commented:
    A powerful poem about the strength of one woman when confronted about her heritage by those who are fearful and stereotype what they don’t understand. May we all write with such strength and bravery.

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