Published on Academy of American Poets (

Poem Full of Worry Ending with My Birth

I worry that my friends 
will misunderstand my silence

as a lack of love, or interest, instead
of a tent city built for my own mind,  

I worry I can no longer pretend 
enough to get through another

year of pretending I know 
that I understand time, though 

I can see my own hands; sometimes, 
I worry over how to dress in a world 

where a white woman wearing 
a scarf over her head is assumed 

to be cold, whereas with my head 
cloaked, I am an immediate symbol 

of a war folks have been fighting 
eons-deep before I was born, a meteor.  


Copyright © 2018 by Tarfia Faizullah. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on April 10, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.

About this Poem

“I suspect that worrying is a large and ongoing part of the human experience, but I also try to pretend like I don't do it. I suppose this is a poem in which I admit that I do; it turns out that what I worry over the most is being misunderstood. I'm also considering proximity, between our physical bodies and the symbols others decide they are, between history and our inheritance of it; I'm trying to complicate and expand how we are seen versus how we see ourselves. I like the idea of a speaker who picks her own symbols, in this case, a meteor: a body from outer space that becomes more and more incandescent, until her arrival into the earth's atmosphere is announced by a streak of light.”
—Tarfia Faizullah


Tarfia Faizullah

Tarfia Faizullah was born in Brooklyn, New York, and raised in Texas. She is the author of Registers of Illuminated Villages (Graywolf Press, 2018) and Seam (Southern Illinois University Press, 2014). She lives in Dallas, Texas.

Date Published: 2018-04-10

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