I miss the deep wrinkles of her leather skin,
tougher than the soft sand that she stands on,
rugged like the Atlas mountains,
where the shepherd leads his goats,
softly humming about the gifts of Allah.
I miss the clay walls that gifted my Sheda,
she painfully birthed my father
into the humming drums of Morocco
and the sweet tunes of earth.
I miss the twins and their laughter
as we tapped on the wooden table
with henna-dyed fingers and a swelling soul.
The beat we played was foreign melancholy
that cried for the swaying of hips
and the rapping of toes.
I miss the tiny kitchen that we gathered in,
kneading bread with our fists,
separating couscous grains with
our steady, nimble fingers
while laughing at the foolish antics
of the women’s men.
I miss the salesman’s ushering,
brown fingers stretched wide as he beckons
me toward his arrangement of
cucumbers, zucchini, and tomatoes.
“They were picked yesterday”
he claims but the softness of the
tomatoes tells me another story.
I miss the freedom that I left behind –
A certain liberty that red and blue stripes
doesn’t carry within its stars.
I miss being myself
without living in constant fear.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.