When you arrive in America
You must not forget the language
We gave to you at birth
Do you remember the daughter of Ahmed?
She returned after two years there
Speaking through her nose and
Rolling her eyes at her own father!
Do not come back, sneering at us
Remember to call your mother often,
The recession has swallowed half
Her once full cheekbones
And she does not laugh
As often as she used to
When you arrive in America,
Do not forget to cook like your mother taught you
And do not eat their food
I heard it tastes like cardboard,
Baba Abdul told me,
You know his son was there for four years
He said the food tastes like cardboard!
You must remember you are a woman
Do not let yourself run wild
Like the daughter of Ahmed
Do not allow men touch you, keep yourself
Marriage awaits you here.
By Ijeoma Umebinyuo
I am a writer and a recent author of my first collection of poems.
I was born and raised in Nigeria.