Burden of Proof

After the towers, I never left
an empty grocery cart astray

but rolled it across the parking lot
back to its designated spot.

On the road, I signalled right
and left with every change of lane,

nodded, thank you, sorry,
please, not a problem.

I pinned ribbons – yellow, pink,
red – on t-shirts and hijabs,

organized drives – blood,
toys, canned foods.

And when a stranger’s eyes
groped my bags at the terminal,

I smiled and suffocated
the dynamite in my chest.

Origin Stories

My black is a story of night and day.
My black is a story of mud and clay.

Outta the way, Muslim

It’s what I am, undeniably. Brown skin, long clothes, hijab wound twice around my hair. In this moment, it is both fact and insult.