Skip to Content


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?
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. This poem was revised on December 4, 2020.
Fatimah Asghar
Photo by Jason Riker.

Fatimah Asghar is a nationally touring poet, screenwriter 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 in many journals, including POETRY Magazine, Southern Indiana Review, The Margins, The Paris-American, and PEN Poetry Series. She is a member of the Dark Noise Collective and a Kundiman Fellow. Her chapbook After was released on Yes Yes Books fall of 2015. Her web series Brown Girls was released in February 2017.

Other poems by this author