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  • If They Come For Us
  • Fatimah Asghar

these are my people & I findthem on the street & shadowthrough any wild all wildmy people my peoplea dance of strangers in my bloodthe old woman's sari dissolving to windbindi a new moon on her foreheadI claim her my kin & sewthe star of her to my breastthe toddler dangling from strollerhair a fountain of dandelion seedat the bakery I claim them toothe Sikh uncle at the airportwho apologizes for the patdown the Muslim man who abandonshis car at the traffic light dropsto his knees at the call of the Azan& the Muslim man who drinksgood whiskey at the start of maghribthe lone khala at the parkpairing her kurta with crocsmy people my people I can't be lostwhen I see you my compassis brown & gold & bloodmy compass a Muslim teenager [End Page 239] snapback & high-tops gracingthe subway platformMashallah I claim them allmy country is madein my people's imageif they come for you theycome for me too in the deadof winter a flock ofaunties step out on the sandtheir dupattas turn to oceana colony of uncles grind their palms& a thousand jasmines bell the airmy people I follow you like constellationswe hear glass smashing the street& the nights opening darkour names this country's woodfor the fire my people my peoplethe long years we've survived the longyears yet to come I see you mapmy sky the light your lantern longahead & I follow I follow [End Page 240]



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pp. 239-240
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