Your Average Muslim-American Family

It’s Eid again. Some of us fasted,
some of us didn’t. No one judges, either way.

There’s a bonfire blazing out back.
Ingredients for s’mores scattered

on their wrappers across the lawn.
My cousin plays Bruce Springsteen

and God Bless the USA on her phone
while someone lights the fireworks

with names like Irate and Pyromania.
Conversations are going.

Up on the deck, our parents
speak to each other in Urdu.

They’re worried about Trump
and Modi. Muslims in India being lynched

for keeping beef in their freezers
or being Muslims.

On the lawn, we’re all
speaking in English.

A different language, still worried
about Trump and Modi.

Another cousin introduces her new boyfriend.
He explains to me his parents moving

from dictatorship to dictatorship,
his father a researcher in biochemistry.

Violence doesn’t spare the educated.
Bruce Springsteen belts we’re born in the USA.

Someone quotes a Hasan Minhaj joke.
Tonight we laugh. Tomorrow might be slaughter.

Published in Unlikely Stories.

Valence