Copyright © 2019 Nur Hassanain. 
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I am five years old

& my hands are empty

My biggest concern is finishing my za’atar sandwich

Before I go home.

I am seven.

& my hands rip up another spelling test I failed.

& shove the scraps in the side pocket of my backpack

I go home with a mouth full of lies.

Mama, I passed.

I am nine.

My best friend says she no longer wants to talk to me.

I look for another hand to hold.

I find no one.

I am eleven.

My hands hold novels instead.

I am thirteen.

A kid in school tells me my fingers are fat.

I walk with my hands inside my pockets.

I am fifteen.

I obsess over exams.

I am seventeen.

My hands are windshields to my rainy eyes.

I am nineteen.

I am a blur. A paradox of right & wrong. Of self-love and loathing.

Of heartache and shelter. Of motivation & idleness.

I am home to all the broken boys. My hands find someone to hold.

I am twenty-one.

My hands are empty again.

I read the news and see terror. See Muslims afraid of saying they’re Muslims.

See absurdities see pain see broken things I can not fix with my two. empty. hands.

I am twenty-one but it feels like sixty-one.

My worries reduce to insignificance

And my biggest concern is no longer a za’atar sandwich.