I Can’t Breathe

I Can’t Breathe
Do you see me?
. . . I ask because I’m dying
Can you hear me?
. . . Right before your eyes
Who am I to you?
. . . Often times by your hand
What am I to you?
. . . And you don’t appear to care
I am here
Shouting in silence
Bleeding in misery
Picking up the pieces of my broken family
Does my dark skin scare you?
Is my hijab, to you, a threat?
Look – hands up – don’t shoot!
I surrender
I am human too
See my humanity
Hear my humanity
Know me . . .
We were made of these diversities so that we may know one another
Not so that we may despise one another
I can’t breathe
You’re suffocating me
Where is my brother’s keeper? . . . .

{Then He proportioned him and breathed into him from His [created] soul and made for you hearing and vision and hearts; little are you grateful.}

The Qur’an, Surah As-Sajdah (chapter of the prostration) 32:9

Janette Grant is author of Redemption Song and Co-editor and contributor of The Muslimah Speaks: Her Voice, Her Spirit. She is also a published novelist, the owner of Mindworks Publishing, and a member of the Muslimah Writers Alliance (MWA) and this poem was first published on the MWA blog.

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