After 9/11 the War Spilled Into Our Hometowns & Made Us Grow up Too Fast & My Homie’s Sister Don’t Wear Her Hijab No More

Fareh Malik

& all my friends on the ball team say they got my back when they overhear one of the dudes from the school across town say​ I heard their team’s got a fuckin’ Mozlem on it ​& my face stays a silent obelisk, a statued testament to normalcy as I barely hear him yo my ears have no capacity for bigotry ever since they were flooded the other day with the sounds of mosque windows smashing open to an uncensored night sky & I wanna tell this boy that ​the brick that they threw that day was ten times heavier than the  words you’re floating up into the room right now​ but that remark isn’t nearly enough satisfaction, so it  curls up into a ball inside of me & I ball my fist into vengeful demolition– a wrecking ball winding up to do to his stomach what they did to the houses of my friends from Palestine but I don’t because this ain’t our part of town & I’m reminded of when my cousins got caught cutting through the wrong New York alleyway by some rednecks with a pistol & damn, I never realized that a nine millimeter barrel can look black-ocean wide when you’re scared enough & yeah, sure we made it home safe but our walk back held a tragic, furious kind of silence that burned our throats like salt-water whenever we  tried to speak its name through a drowning rage & so we swallowed it down and plastered it to our diaphragm & for years we would taste it on our breath until one day a Lexus drives by our neighbourhood and yells out ​go home you fuckin’ Pakis​ & we try to let it go because auntie told us to  keep a low profile and uncle won’t even let us wear bomber jackets because they’re called ​bomber jackets​ and even that’s too risky but there is still an angry sea in our bellies & the red light they get caught at cracks open a dam & it tempts us to run up on them & so we do & this time it’s we who shatter the windows.  

Fareh Malik has erupted forth into the field of written poetry like fresh-water does an estuary. Formerly a spoken word poet, he has been recognized by dozens of literary presses and has been included in several anthologies in little over 6 months. He was also the first place recipient of the MH Canada 2020 Poetry Contest.