Two-Faced Tongue

          Maroon blood rushes through rocks beneath rivers leaving peachy grime stains as water
                       overcomes and surpasses repugnant scent in the air shriveling our nose hairs. We are
                                     hungry bodies crying warrior calls honoring songs to our floating murdered
                                                  brothers who slip into the sea of sacrificial rights and armless fists in air
                                                                ripped off by teeth that sharpen with every racist remark you ask
                                                               am I angry yes. Yes we are angry yes. The knives that feed
                                                                            on carved edges create ridges to slide down and into
                                                               your mouth. Rampaging alley filled shoulder to bruised
                                                                shoulder with all the shades of yes we are here heading into the
                                                  road that feels slippery but soon realize it is only a two faced tongue of
                                     leaders. we drag rakes and bury deep shovels as they slice thin lines into pink
                       tastebuds. Soon we walk in blood, not of a brothers but of a constitution with ink smeared
          by the word great again. We trudge in that blood. I wonder how long yes I am angry.

Happy Birthday from a War Zone

          I don’t want to write about the crumbs left from a fight, the metallic aftertaste of blood
          from a brother gone, but it lingers on the tongue of my words. The red-crusted glaze
          layered on bodies after we are left with one less right, slowing movement from chiseled
          legs that have fought hard in this political war. I don’t want to write about it. Why do I
          write about it? I don’t want to think about my anxiety as a sinking ship no already sunken
          but after the dock you see me afloat. I don’t want to feel bricks building themselves on
          my tongue. The heaviest I weigh is when I am asked to speak. I don’t want to be drowned
          by white men on news channels, in cornered offices, in brown leather recliner chairs
          speak about education. I don’t want to hear you speak on education on education on
          education. Haven’t you been taught to speak on that which you know? I don’t want to
          write about fifty pound cemented walls gently placed upon the cracked bones of a child
          lying on “dig me out, dig me out, please”. Next door, a three-story building crumbles, a
          knife of explosions slicing concrete, craniums, and birthday cake. I don’t want to write about it.

Hiba Cheema is a graduate student at Oklahoma State University pursuing her Ph.D in School Psychology. Against the brisk bustle of life, poetry is her warm cup of chai. Her work epitomizes victims, and how she, a second generation American Pakistani Muslim, reacts in a hybrid culture.