Monday, April 17, 2017

Multi-Hyphenate America

by Mehvish Ally

my America is waves of cold milk 
splashing about with globs of sticky sweet sugary 
cereal that rot your teeth as fast as they put a smile on your face

the lingering diesel from the exhaust pipe of 
a yellow school bus puttering away deliberately 
picking up small parcels of children of various colors shapes and sizes

my America is the Wheel of Fortune 
followed by Jeopardy! (with Alex Trebek!)

the crisp fragrant crimson leaves of dogwoods 
and poplars in a heap waiting to be jumped in 

 my America is the Shenandoah Valley's 
vivacious curves and dips, 
the Appalachian’s kudzu invasion 
and twangs of a dulcimer

a winter so cold your nose hairs freeze 
when you inhale the sharp but invigorating air

my America eats from my turmeric-stained hands 
and fine bone china 
and drinks my sweet chai 
steeped in cinnamon and cardamom 

offering a cup all the while of fresh coffee 
reminding you of the real Boston Tea Party 
with its acerbic bite of mavericks in costume standing up for their rights

my America is carnivals brimming with funnel cake 
dusted in white where you could never quite win that overpriced 
and otherwise unappealing toy

a land founded by complicated 
rebels with wooden teeth

 my America is soft Bengali guttural Arabic 
and rhythmic Sanskrit tones broken by Latin hymnals 
earthy Gaelic and syllables chewed with grit

an alchemical fragrance of a southern belle’s  magnolias 
bonding precariously with royal Mughal jasmines 
hanging together in a heady summer heat

my America secures the Blessings of Liberty to herself and her posterity 
her colossus welcomes the tired poor masses yearning to breathe