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Amreekan Pakistani

I lay on the soft grass
sounds of rickshaws
the smell of sweet mangoes
laal dupatta tickling my face.
This is my home.
The sounds of the subway
the smell of gyros
and loud New York streets
kissing my feet as I walk.
This is my home.
if only the two merged
if only they weren’t seas apart.
Two separate worlds,
both calling
longing for me.
They’re both my homes
the ones that kiss my head
shape me, teach me, welcome me in.
Both are my home
but divided with a deep ocean
with ignorance, with politics.
Sometimes I wear a kurta
with jeans
somehow creating a world within me
where both live perfectly in harmony.
Other times I am forced to chose between the two.
Which one do I belong to more?
Sometimes I have to hide the Pakistani
In order to not be criminalized
to not be seen as other.
Sometimes I have to hide the American
to show I too understand,
to show I’m not whitewashed
and sometimes I just wish it wasn’t so complicated.