When the milk is sour,
The next time you stop speaking,
ask yourself why you were born.
They say they are scared of us.
The nuclear bomb is scared of the cucumber.
When my mother asks me to slice cucumbers,
I feel like a normal person with fantastic dilemmas:
Do I make rounds or sticks? Shall I trim the seeds?
I ask my grandmother if there was ever a time
she felt like a normal person every day,
not in danger, and she thinks for as long
as it takes a sun to set and says, Yes.
I always feel like a normal person.
They just don’t see me as one.
We would like the babies not to find out about
the failures waiting for them. I would like
them to believe on the other side of the wall
is a circus that just hasn’t opened yet. Our friends,
learning how to juggle, to walk on tall poles.
From The Tiny Journalist. Copyright © 2019 by Naomi Shihab Nye. Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc., on behalf of BOA Editions, Ltd.
Naomi Shihab Nye
Naomi Shihab Nye gives voice to her experience as an Arab-American through poems about heritage and peace that overflow with a humanitarian spirit.
Date Published: 2019-04-16
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/separation-wall