sakina abidi

Absolutely loved this poem, it’s really made me think about how we ridicule other people’s accents. Definitely worth a read.

Maps For Teeth

if, if, if —

if i could meet you,
small brown boy,
i’d take your shoulders and shake them,
ask you who taught you
that the way i speak
is not pretty.

why every white man
you must deem conventional and attractive

why the way our coach speaks
with a French lilt
is not just widely acceptable,
but lends him this tone
and inflection we like,
like the way the Italian sings,
like the way the white man speaks.

if i could visit you
tiny brown girl
i’d make you question
why the way brown men speak
remind you of dilli streets
filled with litter,
rickshaw wallah’s gestures,
and stray dogs barking.
why do you cringe the way you do?
(do you wince the same at home?)

why is my and your accent thick and heavy?
like it’s a burden,
like the way
cuts your tongue
is nothing

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