I ache for my unborn son,
Who will be received into this earth from the body of a woman
Whose skin is etched with
I ache for my unborn son, John or Jahan--
Or whatever name makes him more ordinary--
For his black hair will define him
He will wear a hoodie.
There will not be any PTA meetings,
His parents are always away, he says
Because they are
Not pale, with blue eyes that shimmer like the Pacific Ocean
They forget words and correct phrases
Their accents embarrass him.
Deliberately forget his mother’s language and
Tattoo jungles and crucifixes on his arms
He sees his mother
Whose five inch heels
Break every day, when she
Without knowing how to stand firm,
Is expected to run.
Because John sees his mother
Still call her parents’ house on the other side of the globe,
John will hang
The American Flag from his bedroom window
He has picked his land.
I ache for my unborn son
John or Jahan—or whatever name Starbucks baristas can pronounce--
Because for now, he will not be born in the Land of the Free
Because my dream is deferred,
My visa invalid,
My entrance denied.
Leila Zonouzi is an Iranian native currently living in Santa Barbara, CA. She’s a first-year PhD student in Global Studies at UC Santa Barbara with hopes of one day becoming a university professor, helping the younger generation to be more mindful of the world around them. She has received her MFA in Creative Writing from Chatham University. When she isn’t reading, she thinks about going to the beach, but then resumes reading.