October 10, 2020

Sarah Mohammed (age 13)

عيد الأضحى (EID AL-AHDA)

Eid Mubarak

The gentle blessing floats off our tongues like
shallow breaths, as morning dew from the grass kisses our bare feet.

We gather in unity; we are one on this holy morning.
Umma starts the ترتيل‎ (Tarteel) that materializes into our faith.

We rise together, voices mangled with accents,
dressed with youth and age, we combine 
into the rich and powerful tajwid of worship. 

We are no longer reciting. Our hearts sing with love and devotion
to ourselves, each other and our beliefs, blending

into the burning drop of light rising slowly 
above us, streaks of deep color across delicate morning blue. 

The prayers end. We nourish ourselves with hand-cooked meals. 
We can taste them before bringing the food to our lips. 

A leaf rustles. No one dares disturb our sanctuary 
blessed by Mother Nature herself on our celebration, our Eid,
but we were wrong,

A mob came in our place of worship and 
screamed slurs 
They waved their tattered cardboard signs in our faces
our clasped hands our beating hearts 
we looked at other faces they could wreck us 
it was our time to be united to be pure and true 
we are Americans anyway why should we “leave Americans alone” 
we were born in the valleys of this country in the patterns
of practice Eid Mubarak 

The gentle blessing floats off our tongues like shallow breaths
as we huddle together in tightly packed rows against the sticky
linoleum floors of my uncle’s apartment

from 2020 Rattle Young Poets Anthology


Why do you like to write poetry?

Sarah Mohammed: “To me, writing poetry is not only an incredibly cathartic experience, but a way to convey messages of racism and misconceptions to others. Being a Muslim-American girl born to two immigrant parents who work very hard to rise in society, I relate to the stereotyping and profiling around Muslims, and I have learned to embody the grit and willpower needed to assimilate in this changing society. Poetry, to me, is a common language that helps to break boundaries in culture, religion, and gender to share our pain, anger, and experiences with thought that is deep and provoking. In a sense, poetry creates the magic in John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’—where the man-made chasm of society doesn’t exist, where there is no stranger, and instead we are one world of dreamers, more powerful than ever before, limitless with just a sky of hopes above us. I hope to raise awareness and embody the voice of change through my poetry.”

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