| words that get in your teeth

Like Me by Noora Mahbuba

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That taste of condemnation, the one where I do not know what encompasses
wrong, that embitters the tongue like salted rust; corrosive and darkened against
pale lies. Snow-white, that which is meant to stain. Why do you not call them
what you call me? My mother and my brother, with venom behind teeth and poison
sweet. Why do you not call them the way you call any who look like me as stormy
smoke spirals like a wildling’s touch? Call them how you hiss at my sisters, the ones
who speak softly behind their veils of peace? Call them how you curse my skin,
the color of one so sunkissed. They who incite terror on the home front, still
allowed dignity while winter chills its breath and a summer of subdued rage sings.
Rage, you say? Why do you not call them the same name you called my family who
march the streets with peaceful intent and suffer for it? You who still freedom. You
who catch it by the throat and one fallen. Call them like me, who speaks softly, tears shed.
What is terror when it called by another name? A lie. This pale snow will melt away: leave
behind only the unrecognized. Call them like me so that you may know what cost truth is.

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