Susan Rich

(Boston, MA)

Mohamud at the Mosque - for my student upon his graduation


And some time later in the lingering
blaze of summer, in the first days
after September 11th you phoned –

if I don’t tell anyone my name I’ll
pass for an African American.
And suddenly, this seemed a sensible solution –

the best protection: to be a black man
born in America, more invisible than
Somalian, Muslim, asylum seeker –

Others stayed away that first Friday
but your uncle insisted that you pray.
How fortunes change so swiftly

I hear you say. And as you parallel
park across from the Tukwila
mosque, a young woman cries out –

her fears unfurling beside your battered car
go back where you came from!
You stand, both of you, dazzling there

in the mid-day light, her pavement
facing off along your parking strip.
You tell me she is only trying

to protect her lawn, her trees,
her untended heart – already
alarmed by its directive.

And when the neighborhood
policeman appears, asks
you, asks her, asks the others –

So what seems to be the problem
He actually expects an answer,
as if any of us could name it –

as if perhaps your prayers
chanted as this cop stands guard
watching over your windshield

during the entire service
might hold back the world
we did not want to know.

Submitted: Tuesday, August 15, 2006
Edited: Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Listen to this poem:

Do you like this poem?
0 person liked.
0 person did not like.

Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Comments about this poem (Mohamud at the Mosque - for my student upon his graduation by Susan Rich )

Enter the verification code :

There is no comment submitted by members..

Top Poems

  1. Phenomenal Woman
    Maya Angelou
  2. The Road Not Taken
    Robert Frost
  3. If You Forget Me
    Pablo Neruda
  4. Still I Rise
    Maya Angelou
  5. Dreams
    Langston Hughes
  6. Annabel Lee
    Edgar Allan Poe
  7. If
    Rudyard Kipling
  8. I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings
    Maya Angelou
  9. Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
    Robert Frost
  10. Invictus
    William Ernest Henley

PoemHunter.com Updates

New Poems

  1. (1) The Ceaseless Waves of Sorrow, Uriah Hamilton
  2. An Ode to a Toad Named Frank, Susan Sparks
  3. The Path, Deepak Hariharan
  4. A Hymn to God, Dr John Celes
  5. The Facebook Poem, Alan W. Jankowski
  6. The Jerk At Work, Alan W. Jankowski
  7. When Friends Betray Friends, Alan W. Jankowski
  8. My Love Did Sometimes Wander, Alan W. Jankowski
  9. No Help At All, Alan W. Jankowski
  10. The Bird, the Cat, the Monster and I…., Poetheart (back)

Poem of the Day

poet Sir Walter Scott

The moon's on the lake, and the mist's on the brae,
And the Clan has a name that is nameless by day;
Then gather, gather, gather Grigalach!
Gather, gather, gather Grigalach!

...... Read complete »

   
[Hata Bildir]