Your Average Muslim-American Family

It’s Eid again. Some of us fasted,
some of us didn’t. No one judges, either way.
There’s a bonfire blazing out back.
Ingredients for s’mores scattered
on their wrappers across the lawn.
My cousin plays Bruce Springsteen
and God Bless the USA on her phone
while someone lights the fireworks
with names like Irate and Pyromania.
Conversations are going.
Up on the deck, our parents
speak to each other in Urdu.
They’re worried about Trump
and Modi. Muslims in India being lynched
for keeping beef in their freezers
or being Muslims.
On the lawn, we’re all
speaking in English.
A different language, still worried
about Trump and Modi.
Another cousin introduces her new boyfriend.
He explains to me his parents moving
from dictatorship to dictatorship,
his father a researcher in biochemistry.
Violence doesn’t spare the educated.
Bruce Springsteen belts we’re born in the USA.
Someone quotes a Hasan Minhaj joke.
Tonight we laugh. Tomorrow might be slaughter.



Alia Hussain Vancrown

Alia Hussain Vancrown has published in journals and magazines in print and online. Her poetry has twice been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. She was selected to participate in Winter Tangerine's 2018 workshop, Singing Songs Crooning Comets, featuring seminars by Kaveh Akbar and Aricka Foreman. Alia works at the Library of Congress in the Law Division. She currently resides in Maryland. For more, please visit and Instagram @aliagoestothelibrary. Alia recommends her late cousin's scholarship fund: The Daanish Khan Memorial Scholarship.


Edited for Unlikely by Jonathan Penton, Editor-in-Chief
Last revised on Monday, September 2, 2019 - 22:34