The Witness

[in response to Trump’s #Muslimban]

l first saw the attack on my way to work

I was in Chinatown and group of women

pointed up, there, a giant cloud of smoke

billowing from the north tower

…And I am not afraid of Muslims.

Later, I stood on Sixth Avenue, staring up once again

surrounded by a NYC of stunned and breaking hearts

When the second tower fell, we turned and we ran

Screaming. The thunder of concrete. White ash.

And we are not afraid of Muslims…

Days passed. Terror smoldered.

Streets blocked, sirens reeling, the city wept;

I showed identification to reach my apartment.

I walked to work, down Canal Street, along walls posted with disbelief:

“Have You Seen Her?”

“Do You Have Any Information On…?”

“Can You Wake Me Up From This Nightmare, Please…”

And, still, I did not place my fear in Muslims.

And then there are those whose fear

ached for direction, a place to roost.

Maybe they never met a Muslim, or

Only knew the “good ones.” The “exceptions”

What a relief it must have been to find a place

where fear could finally rest. And grow.

It might not have even felt like hate. At first.

This, this is who I am afraid of.