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america

By Fatimah Asghar

am I not your baby?
brown & not allowed

my own language?
my teeth pulled

from mouth, tongue
bloated with corn syrup?

america, didn’t you raise me?
bomb the country of my fathers

& then tell me to go back to it?
didn’t you mold the men

who murder children in schools
who spit at my bare arms

& uncovered head?
america, wasn’t it you?

who makes & remakes
me orphan, who burns

my home, watches me rebuild
& burns it down again?

wasn’t it you, who uproots
& mangles the addresses

until there are none
until all I have are my own

hands & even those you’ve
told me not to trust? america

don’t turn your back on me.
am I not your baby?

brown & bred to hate
every inch of my skin?

didn’t you raise me?
didn’t you tell me bootstraps

& then steal my shoes?
didn’t you make there no ‘back’

for me to go back to?
america, am I not your refugee?

who do I call mother, if not you?

Added: Thursday, January 14, 2016  /  Used with permission. Asghar read this poem in January 2016, at the Sunday Kind of Love reading series as part of Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here Festival D. C., 2016.
Fatimah Asghar
Photo by Jason Riker.

Fatimah Asghar is a nationally touring poet, photographer and performer. She created Bosnia and Herzegovina’s first Spoken Word Poetry group, REFLEKS, while on a Fulbright studying theater in post-violent contexts. She has performed on many stages, including the Dodge Poetry Festival, The Nantucket Project, and TedX. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in POETRY Magazine, The Paris-American, The Margins, and Gulf Coast. She has received fellowships and residencies from Kundiman, Millay Colony, VONA, New Harmony Writers Workshop and Fulbright. She is a member of the Dark Noise Collective and is a Teaching Artist for Young Chicago Authors. Her chapbook After was released on Yes Yes Books fall of 2015.

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