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I tell my mother that I want to be a poet

by Nisha Patel

and do not flinch when 26 years of 
licking the dirt off the earth worms 

no longer tastes like home 


I think we forget that the great pyramids of Giza 

were burial chambers, never meant to hold
anything close to a beating heart, or a living dream

and I wonder why it is that when a child of immigrants

wants to be a poet, we pray instead for a prosperous afterlife 


I tell my mother that I want to be a poet 

and for a second, we fall in love 

leave the men we think we

aren't beautiful enough to abandon 

touch palms to the cool tables of our cheeks 

hold each other as women do

chest to chest, like we are enough


but if I could write a poem for every time 

I have made my mother proud 

I would, for once, have nothing to say 

About the Author

Nisha Patel is an award-winning queer poet & artist. She is the City of Edmonton’s Poet Laureate, and the Canadian Individual Slam Champion. Her debut collection is forthcoming with Newest Press.

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