Sarah Fathima Mohammed

Price of America
After K-Ming Chang

In this country, the nearest mosque
                    is four miles away, but we still hear

the sputter of gunshots more often
                    than raindrops. We bought home

from a white farmer’s reddened fist.
                    A man who called my mother a curvy

roti, sold us his animal shed for more
                    than we would ever be able to pay

off. This place still smells of rabbit.
                    Like the rabbits, we are also

born from surrender
                    born for slaughter.

Tonight, my mother remembers
                    all the stillborn daughters

she left behind. Converts our bedroom
                    into a mosque. Wooden slabs sponging

greasy incense like light. She tucks
                    a towel choked with holes under

my thighs, calls it a prayer
                    rug. When the space between

the trigger pumps
                    is long enough for us to count

my mother and I open our arms
                    as if we have something left to give.

Our bodies are the cheapest
                    property to purchase in this country

but we still can’t clutch enough
                    pennies to call them ours.

Maybe in another life
                    we are born rich

enough to live. To worship.
                    Birth immigrant children.

I don’t know how much
                    it costs for god to answer

our prayers, only that we
                    can’t afford it. Still, we are trying:

Please. Allah, remember the children
                    we miscarried again and again

our bodies knotted like flesh
                    wounds, organs pulled out:

will this always be the price
                    of survival? Allah, we

were carried into this world
                    to die. Let our last breath

be an answer. Allah, please.
                    Birth our generation

from your holy tongue, teach them
                    what our fathers never taught

us, let them be better than
                    this. Let them be better than us



Sarah Fathima Mohammed is a brown, Muslim-American emerging writer from the San Francisco Bay Area. She is fascinated with poetry as a means of fostering empowerment and awareness for her immigrant Muslim community. She has been recognized by the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers and the National Poetry Quarterly’s Editors’ Choice Prize, among others. Her work appears or is forthcoming in Canvas Literary Journal, Rattle, Blue Marble Review, The Rising Phoenix Review, Apprentice Writer, and elsewhere. When she is not writing, she serves as managing editor for The Aurora Review and reads for Polyphony Lit.