Carnegie Mellon University

"America"

Honorable Mention for High School Poetry

More than a year after 9/11,
my pregnant mother was walking to campus.
She was walking towards the front doors.
Her head down low,
away from the curious eyes.
Sad eyes. Scared eyes. Mad eyes.
 
My mother is stuck behind 9/11,
the dead-end sign, we call it.
 
She often asks me, where is the road from here?
She fled from the war in her home country
and came to America in search of peace.
 
You grabbed her shoulder to face you.
She called you “mad eyes.”
Terrorist, terrorist, terrorist, you said
with each burning spit.
 
She couldn't move.
All she did was watch,
wrap her arms around her stomach
hoping I would not watch.
 
Did her hijab provoke your wrath?
Did you assume she carried bombs?
You waged your war against her that day,
you terrorist.
Where is the road from here?

Read more award-winning entries.