This was an actual conversation that took place between me and a customer of mine.....
She screamed from the door “do you speak French”
With a fatigued smile, I informed her, no ma’am but we have someone who does.
As I made my way to find, my French co-worker, she tapped my shoulder.
Uncertainty of her inquires, I said, excuse me?
She said, “are you African” with a tone that conveyed a deep message.
A message of betrayal,
Long struggle and sadness,
I sensed the nostalgia behind her voice,
The agony of being a refugee,
I swear, every wrinkle on her face had a story of their own.
Are you African?
She asked again…This time with firmness in her voice
Yes! I am an African.
She came closer, and with a smile on her face she asked in a whispery tone
“are you a Muslim”
I said in a voice louder than hers when she asked “do you speak French”
Yes, Alhamdulilah…I am a Muslim.
As if my hijab has failed to make that statement,
Or perhaps the long black dress I wore
Alhamdulilah, I am a muslim.
With sadness in her voice,
And a dropp of tears from her eyes,
She said…”.It was a beautiful faith”
Before, fate forced me to abandon my faith…
Her tale was compellingly sad and confusing, …
But my manager demanded, I get back to work….
As I sit to pray Magrib now,
I look forward to that old customer of mine, perhaps tomorrow or the day after..,
Who screamed with pride“do you speak French”
Asked in a soft tone “African”…”Are you African”
And in a whispery tone..said “are you Muslim”
Halima A Ahmed
Copyright © 2009
Halima Ahmed's Other Poems
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Comments about this poem (The Customer by Halima Ahmed )
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- without warning, with morning, Lucy Gray
- How to Pinda-Dana?, Bijay Kant Dubey
- We are neighbors, gajanan mishra
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