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What America Cannot Offer its Muslim Citizens This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

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 woman’s men.
I miss the salesmen usher’s,
brown fingers stretched wide as he beckons
me towards his arraignment of
cucumbers, zucchini, and tomatoes.
“They were picked yesterday”,
he claims but the softness of the
tomatoes tell 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.

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