A Journal

"I'm going to come back to West Virginia when this is over. There's something ancient and deeply-rooted in my soul. I like to think that I have left my ghost up one of those hollows, and I'll never really be able to leave for good until I find it. And I don't want to look for it, because I might find it and have to leave".----Breece D'J Pancake, in a letter to his mother. 

Samina Hadi-Tabassum


White Washed Blue

The blue of his eyes are washed in white
With black specks lining the pupil rim like
Crows perched atop birch trees
Small dark islands seen from above
Tiny dandelion seeds floating away

His ancestors were farmers staring into the sky
Standing in the midday sun for centuries
Holding wooden tools around their stiff hands
Fingers gnarled and veins pulsating
In a new world far from the Alps

He stands on the balls of his feet
Telling me stories of the Mennonites
The quiver in his lips softens
Then his gravely voice spins tales
Of clapboard churches on grassy plains

His father a preacher on the prairie
Filling empty hearts with quiet sermons
Tall grass covers his childhood memories
Running across creeks in cattail country
With his newspaper boy hat in tow

The man he is today
Is not the man his ancestors imagined him to be
A social worker in the inner city schools
Married to a full-blooded Indian
The eyes of his children are not white washed blue
Theirs is a copper brown of new found land



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Samina Hadi-Tabassum is an associate professor of education at the Erikson Institute in Chicago. Her first book of poems, Muslim Melancholia, was published in June 2017 with Red Mountain Press. She has published poems in East Lit Journal, Soul-Lit, Journal of Postcolonial Literature, Papercuts, The Waggle, Indian ReviewClassical Poets, Mosaic, Main Street Rag, Clockhouse and These Fragile Lilacs. Her poems were performed on stage as a part of the Kundiman Foundation and Emotive Fruition event focusing on Asian American poetry.



My favorite souvenir is the light-up, white marble, small scale Taj Mahal I bought in Agra outside the real deal.