Your knives tip down
in the dish rack
of the replica plantation home,
you wash hands
with soaps pressed into seahorses
and scallop shells white
to match your guest towels,
and, like an escargot fork,
you have found the dimensions
small enough to
Here’s your auntie, in her best gold-threaded shalwaar
kameez, made small by this land of american men.
Everyday she prays. Rolls attah & pounds the keema
at night watches the bodies of these glistening men.
Big and muscular, neck full of veins, bulging in the pen.
Her eyes kajaled & wide, glued to sweaty american men.
She smiles as guilty as a bride without blood, her love
of this new country, cold snow & naked american men.
“Stop living in a soap opera” yells her husband, fresh
from work, demanding his dinner: american. Men
take & take & yet you idolize them still, watch
your auntie as she builds her silent altar to them—
her knees fold on the rundown mattress, a prayer to WWE
Her tasbeeh & TV: the only things she puts before her husband.
She covers bruises & never lets us eat leftovers: a good wife.
It’s something in their nature: what america does to men.
They can’t touch anyone without teeth & spit
unless one strips the other of their human skin.
Even now, you don’t get it. But whenever it’s on you watch
them snarl like mad dogs in a cage—these american men.
Now that you’re older your auntie calls to say he hit
her again, that this didn’t happen before he became american.
You know its true & try to help, but what can you do?
You, little Fatimah, who still worships him?