Proud to be an American
Your sweet tones ring in my ears but
I can’t hear your voice
I want to feel your hands, strong and brown
across the sinews of my spine,
But all I feel is sturdy, languid rhythm,
your palms kneading chapati dough
You tell me to be obedient,
like yourself, like the other women in the house,
Make the meals for the family.
Don’t fight back.
Cover yourself in a burka.
Cook, clean, take care of the children.
You pass down the psalms of your generation with grace,
your soft words so easy for me to soak up like melted honey.
I want to nod I want
to see your eyes worn with age
crinkle up at the edges, happy because I would
be the good Muslim girl I know you want
but I live in America: the land of the free.
“Join the women’s march today: we fight for equality”
I want to listen to you, but I want to be free,
not stuck in the dusty cage of definition.
So I choose to live as a sole bird
and I will explore the heavy scent of the sky
embrace the colors of the earth
While exploring the endless sky your words morph into caresses
those soft touches reminders of my heritage
but not my beliefs
By Sarah Fathima Mohammed
Sarah Fathima Mohammed is a high schooler from California. In 2019, she received a silver medal for the NJCL national creative writing contest and a gold medal for national Latin. Her work has been accepted in Canvas Literary Journal. She has been accepted and will attend Iowa Young Writers’ Studio in 2020. She enjoys writing various pieces in literature and Latin; creative writing, to her, is a raw form of self-expression that can be conveyed at any depth without the worldly barriers. When she is not writing, she teaches English to disadvantaged students, plays music to raise funds for kids in hospitals and enjoys archery.