One Breath This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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I was born an Arab. I was born an American. Something I know can be said within one breath but is for now said in two.

I have, because of my heritage, felt my blood course vividly through my veins and seen a heart break violently within a lover's chest. I have, because of my slanted nose, my thick eyebrows, and my large brown eyes seen more of the world than one dimension. I have seen how, in my heart, West and East can survive, but I have also seen how West and East can collide, and I have seen my heart as the world's stage.

I live for what? I do not know, but I feel a constant compulsion to speak for every child with skin the color of Mediterranean sand.

I cannot deduce whether I am standing apart or living within, but I breathe. I dream, I love, I yearn, I cry, and I live for that part of my soul that shares a piece with every other. For each day I live is courage within itself.

Each day that I take moment by moment, rather than hour by hour, each second I breathe – inhaling knowledge and exhaling presumptions – I am bringing familiarity to the legends of my world. To my Mother Teresa and my Rachel Corrie. To my Gandhi and my Aung San Suu Kyi. My Abraham Lincoln and my Martin Luther King Jr.

With every breath, I retain more of my essence as I collect the pieces of myself floating in these clouds. And when I am lucky enough, I will catch a morsel of my fellows' souls, taste the overwhelming undertones of saccharine, and savor the hope that we as a whole may augment our greatest flavor, love.

That I might breathe and say, “I am an Arab-American.” One breath in, another out.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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floaton said...
Oct. 23, 2009 at 3:22 am
wow, i loved this so much. i am an arab american too, i too have seen much with my large brown eyes, and i too feel compulsions and closeness to anyone with the same decent as me. as for me, i have dreams of the UN, and i hope with talent like yours and mine, someday the beauty of the middle east will be appreicated.
 
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