For Ayat

Your trust was my Rolex,
Bentley, Brooks Brothers suit—
Ms. Cross my mentor;
Ms Wilson the decider

Our symbiotic relationship
Your linguistic ticket to
4th grade girl status—
and my meal ticket

Hey Ayat, forget that as a
4th-grader we worked hard
Together raising your reading
from 1.4 to 4th grade level;
Forget how you sweated in your
Hijab as Cali sun poured through
glass in the hallway where we worked;
Forget that my eyes welled up when
You read the word “chlorophyll” with
a lil’ Arabic sonic seasoning…

Hey Ayat, American
Heroes sometimes have to kill
Kids like you in Yemen and
Other places—
Anyway, God will sort it out
When they get to Heaven…

I apologize, Ayat—
It’s America First now…
Some day you’ll understand
How American heroes protect our

Former forklift driver/warehouse worker/janitor, Raymond Nat Turner is a NYC poet; BAR's Poet-in-Residence; and founder/co-leader of the jazz-poetry ensemble UpSurge!NYC. Read other articles by Raymond Nat, or visit Raymond Nat's website.