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

Raymond Nat Turner is a NYC poet privileged to have read at the Harriet Tubman Centennial Symposium. He is Artistic Director of the stalwart JazzPoetry Ensemble UpSurge and has appeared at numerous festivals and venues including the Monterey Jazz Festival and Panafest in Ghana West Africa. He currently is Poet-in-Residence at Black Agenda Report. Turner has opened for such people as James Baldwin, People’s Advocate Cynthia McKinney, radical sportswriter Dave Zirin and CA Congresswoman Barbara Lee following her lone vote against attacking Afghanistan. Read other articles by Raymond Nat, or visit Raymond Nat's website.