From May 2016
i bear the weight of their gaze,
and it’s surprising. damn, i must be looking
good? or am I somehow
incomplete? nope. no sore thumbs
to stick out. let's just say i'm at my most average
me: young, male, brown, with a looming threat
of facial hair.
the friendly voice on the p.a.
calls attention to anarchists
and unattended bags. "metro is an open system. if you see something,
say something." so i stare, too.
men and women but mostly men,
in blue and yellow but mostly blue, with badges and guns
but mostly guns.
it had happened again: bombs and prayers,
followed by bombs and prayers,
followed by status updates.
they’re armed with batons, tasers, and guns.
me, with my attended adidas backpack
plus a brown face with a shadowy threat
of that looming beard.
racial profiling don’t discriminate
between brown lightbrown darkbrown blackish black.
distant cousins reunite at t.s.a.
screenings. one man’s pagri is another’s keffiyeh.
where i come from, everyone looks
like your suspects. our profiling
is more nuanced. sharper noses, longer beards. the rest,
don’t need to be attended to.
i bear the weight of their gaze
and i shrug. the world
but when the faces realigning
look like derivatives of my own face,
if i gaze upon a jagged cousin
of my reflection, won't i, too,