Published on Academy of American Poets (https://poets.org)


When the Orders Came

"[We are] calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States."
             —Trump’s administrative team, December 7, 2015

they shipped us to the sanctuary camps
& we forgot our other countries.

like good schoolchildren we sung
the anthem loud, so loud
until we could hear nothing else.

not the birds delighting
over their young, or the dogs’ snarl
at our feet, or him on the news

hourly, growling. this is the cost
of looking the other way
when they come for us:

I build safety inside you
& wake in cuffs.
I’m all mouth. every morning

I whisper my country my country my country
& my hands stay empty.
what is land but land? a camp

but a camp? sanctuary
but another grave? I am an architect.
I permission everything

into something new.
I build & build
& someone takes it away.

Credit


From If They Come For Us: Poems (One World/ Random House, 2018). Copyright © 2018 by Fatimah Asghar. Used with the permission of the poet.

Author


Fatimah Asghar

Fatimah Asghar is the author of the full-length collection If They Come For Us (Random House, 2018) and the chapbook After (YesYes Books, 2015)

Date Published: 2018-08-07

Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/when-orders-came