When Trump took the podium, God turned over
like an alcoholic and napped – the only explanation.
I circle the president elect, tracking
his erratic, hazardous moods like weather patterns. I want
to sit him down, pat his back like I’m burping
a big baby, wipe bitterness from his face with a warm cloth
and tell him about the dream I had
where I combed his infamous locks with my fingers,
found an inchworm or two before he cornered me,
penis out of its zipper like an arm out of a sleeve.
He looked at me, at all the females present,
as if we were butterflies he planned to board.
I’m reminded of a kid I saw on the playground
poking at a leech, pleased by its quivering, tight
with blood, about to burst. I want to give Trump a chance,
I do. But this isn’t a Shakespearean play.
No sprites will come clean after his mistakes,
then deftly disappear before the last act. Baba tells me,
“Take off your hijab if you don’t feel safe.” I ask myself,
is this the world I live in now? Three Muslim students shot
dead in their own home, execution style. A young girl,
headscarf yanked off, pushed into an oncoming train.
A drunk frat boy darting in front of me, scud of spit
on the corner of his mouth, laughing when I flinch.
Afraid of the Man with Small Hands
I can’t help but feel we’re steering
in the wrong direction. I’m not deceived
by this dunya, this life and its materials,
but consider the prostitute
who passed a dog panting near a well.
She took off her shoe, tied it to her scarf,
drew up water for it, and God forgave her.
You who are reading these words
come closer. God made this easy
In 2nd grade, I wrote a paper for a bitter teacher
about the mercies of Muslims.
A photo of the Twin Towers by his desk,
he knowingly mangled my last name
so that it sounded like monster.
When Ricky called me a terrorist, spit
in my face, that teacher shrugged,
If you want it to stop then go back
to where you came from. And where did I come from?
The hospital on 77th St.? A desert country I’ve never met?
Or a place higher up, somewhere vast
and incomprehensible? I miss residing
in my mother’s womb – fat, female, satisfied –
before being pushed out into a world
that wanted nothing to do with me.
These days it seems the empathetic woman
strode past and I’m still here
mired with thirst, dreading confrontation,
backing down to any male menace with a few threats.
I won’t pine her absence
or the absence of miracles. It’s doltish to believe
we can grasp onto things forever:
Prairie fringed orchids become endangered,
helpless from those who collect armfuls for their darlings.
A spider swoons down its swept-away web,
curls into itself, hangs motionless. Not long now
until the day the earth turns inside out,
and us, swallowed into its silence.
About the Author: Threa Almontaser was born and raised in New York City. She is an MFA candidate in poetry at North Carolina State University. Her poetry won the 2016 NC State poetry contest, was a finalist for the James Hurst poetry prize, and is a winner of the 9th annual Nazim Hikmet poetry competition. Her work has appeared in Day One Journal, Oakland Arts Review, Smokey Blue Literary and Arts Magazine, Atlantis Magazine, and elsewhere. She currently teaches English to immigrants and refugees in Raleigh. Besides writing, Threa enjoys traveling to places not easily found on a map.