Hajar in America

We came over together
I spoke no English
He had a mission: grad school, then it’s back to save the masses

Here I am now with the baby on my hip,
alone in Newark, on foot, looking for milk at the all-night Exxon
I hear he’s marrying her,
the teaching assistant with the frosted hair

I have to learn how to drive.

Hijab Scenes #7

No I’m not bald
No I’m not from that country where women can’t drive cars
No I would not like to defect. Thank you,
I’m already American
What else would you like me to explain
relevant to my opening a bank account,
buying insurance,
reserving a seat on a flight?
Yes, I speak English
Yes I’m legal
Yes I carry explosives
They’re called words
and if you don’t get up off your assumptions,
They’re going to blow you away

How to cite this article:

Mohja Kahf "Poetry," Middle East Report 205 (Winter 1997).
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