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Malika, Transplanted

The day the blue basket of the sky
couldn’t hold the dust and debris,
my dad was three blocks away,
just one of the shadowed figures
running from the advancing haze.

Uptown, her clothes
smell like transplanted spices,
and I’ve known her lilting voice
since before I can remember.

I saw her praying, just once,
when I was in her living room -
an accidental glance
through the half-open door.

Her prayer rug was the color of
deep emerald,
her white head scarf
brushing the floor,

while the stars and stripes
her son drew
in crayon
looked on from the wall.

She is so beautiful,
and they were her towers, too.




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