Call Her Maroon

Thu, 12/22/2016 - 14:52 -- nazh22

Does your mother strain her brain for words

and correct English pronunciation patterns the same way

you strain your eye muscles 

at the minuscule black letters hovering from the 

projector

in the eye doctor’s office? 

 

Does the cashier’s response to her questions

elicit screeches from your body like

thunders from chalk on blackboard,

and roars from colliding cars on 29th

street? 

 

Does her accent make your body cringe 

till it’s infected with crawling ants and sticking 

hairs that remind you of old-fashioned 

cartoons, 

 

Do you interrupt her sentence before

she can embarrass herself 

in front of the employees? 

 

“Does this have bacon in it?”

she’ll ask and he’ll say, no ma’am, it’s pork

 

and you want to punch him in the face for not guessing by bacon,

 she means all types of pig

and by not purchasing pig she avoids ultimate sin

but the smell of it is alluring to your senses

and you wonder how badly you’ll burn in hell

for slipping pieces of bacon into your plate

on days where you dine with friends.

 

The worst type of guilt is the one

that is implicit, hidden,

neglected

And you recognize that you’ve been unfair

to your mother

as if you haven’t observed how

her beauty goes unnoticed

because she wraps a fabric around her head 

as if you didn’t know 

how people shy away from her hijab, 

deeming it the top-rated hallmark of 

terrorism. 

 

Your mother no longer spends time in front of the mirror

with pins in her hand and her neck

craning to appropriate the hijab perfectly;

she’s given up efforts of appearing “stylish”;

in their eyes, it means nothing. 

You’ve seen her feigned attempts at 

erasing her identity

and hiding it behind the facades of hats and head-coverings

maybe that way, they won’t notice, 

 

 

“You need to change your last name,”

she badgers you,

and you don’t know if you should cry out in anger

at her hypocrisy because only last night, she 

was urging you to embrace

your Iraqi roots. 

 

Gradually, your world shrinks

and you want to scratch at it

until it’s bloody and tattered,

until you’re visible and not translucent,

until you’re anyone,

instead of none. 

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This poem is about: 
My community
Poetry Terms Demonstrated: 

Comments

nazh22

I wrote this based on the discrimination usually recieved for my mother's accent. 

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