so whitey likes my language? ha. cute. gonna have to read these books upside down & backwards if you wanna pass me up. oh yeah? you have that good vocab? ha. that vocab is my blood. i came out of the womb with this legacy on my lips. my voice builds monuments, the arabic on its scattered tongue. i speak revolution. i speak not dead yet, not planning on dying any time soon. i speak a plane ticket back home. i speak a pond sure as hell won’t keep me & my people apart. i speak hot metal dipped in holy water: healing, on fire. i speak a fist placed to the oppressor’s jaw. i speak. yeah, i forgot who i was, but i’m not forgetting again. & you? ha. you speak as university arabic program excuses toxic whiteness. you speak racial slurs between cultural expressions. you speak over me, teeth slick with envy. you speak flags in fertile soil, claiming it yours. you speak war on anything that doesn’t look like you. you speak & you try too hard. you speak: eating everything in sight, spilling with greed. but now, you only speak when spoken to. now: tell me my language is beauty. paint walls with these words — still sounds like a massacre from a white throat. still cute, though. try again. ma ahdamak. ya wayli. mashallah. how proud you are. holding a throat within a throat. i pull the sword from the stone. the sword: my language. the stone: your teeth. me: victory. you: in your place. oh, the professor says i’ve got an attitude problem? ha. okay. see you next year. come with a mouth ready to spit my words back out.