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By Fatimah Asghar

these are my people & I find

them on the street & shadow

through any wild all wild

my people my people

a dance of strangers in my blood

the old woman’s sari dissolving to wind

bindi a new moon on her forehead

I claim her my kin & sew

the star of her to my breast

the toddler dangling from stroller

hair a fountain of dandelion seed

at the bakery I claim them too

the sikh uncle at the airport

who apologizes for the pat

down the muslim man who abandons

his car at the traffic light drops

to his knees at the call of the azan

& the muslim man who sips

good whiskey at the start of maghrib

the lone khala at the park

pairing her kurta with crocs

my people my people I can’t be lost

when I see you my compass

is brown & gold & blood

my compass a muslim teenager

snapback & high-tops gracing

the subway platform

mashallah I claim them all

my country is made

in my people’s image

if they come for you they

come for me too in the dead

of winter a flock of

aunties step out on the sand

their dupattas turn to ocean

a colony of uncles grind their palms

& a thousand jasmines bell the air

my people I follow you like constellations

we hear the glass smashing the street

& the nights opening their dark

our names this country’s wood

for the fire my people my people

the long years we’ve survived the long

years yet to come I see you map

my sky the light your lantern long

ahead & I follow I follow


Poet Bio

Poet, screenwriter, educator, and performer Fatimah Asghar is a Pakistani, Kashmiri, Muslim American writer. She is also the writer and co-creator of the Emmy-nominated Brown Girls, a web series that highlights friendships between women of color. Her work has been featured on news outlets such as PBS, NPR, TimeTeen VogueHuffington Post, and others. In 2011 she created a spoken word poetry group in Bosnia and Herzegovina called REFLEKS while serving a Fulbright fellowship, where she studied theater in post-genocidal countries. Asghar is a member of the Dark Noise Collective and a Kundiman Fellow. 

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