“Embracing America”

Early each morning
I walk with my friend
from next door.
She is stunning.
Long black hair
parted in the middle
covers her shoulders
like an ermine stole
and hangs to her waist
like the thick tail
of a show horse.

The men on our street
watch through splayed fingers
as she strides by
her purposeful gait
unique and positive.
She’s an untouchable
poster child
for the modern
American beauty
in her cropped top
and hip-hugging
short jean cutoffs.
I sometimes wonder
if she’s chosen me
as a foil
for her splendor.

As we walk
we talk of America
the miraculous advantages
unknown
in her war-torn country.
I help her study
for her citizenship test.
We car pool.
Our boys sleep over.

A few minutes ago
I brought her son
home from Boy Scouts.
I was in a hurry
but I waited
until the door opened
and he slipped inside.
Out of the corner of my eye
I saw the men
eight of them
seated in front
of a large map.
They listened to a speaker
bearded and kaftanned
who pointed
to a bull’s eye
in the middle
of the projected image.
They nodded their agreement.

Then I saw my friend
her beauty
black-robed
burka-drab
obsequiously
pouring coffee into their cups.
It was the flash
of her glorious hair
and the spring in her step
that could not be disguised
by the trappings
of subservience.

Is she part of the conspiracy?
Is this what she really wants?
I ask myself these questions
as I pull my car
into my driveway.
I will soon get the answers
as two men
have exited her house
and are waiting for me
by my front door.

They, too,
had seen something
out of the corners
of their eyes
and that was the look
of comprehension
that inadvertently
crossed my face
as I recognized the truth
of my neighbor’s
feigned acceptance
of American ways
and her fairy-tale participation
in the daily routines
of a suburban housewife.

Now I wonder
who she will choose
to replace me
and my patriotism
as the unsuspecting foil
for her treachery.

(Written for dVerse Poetics: In the Corner of Your Eye. October 07, 2014.)

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This entry was posted in Flash Fiction, Micro Fiction, Poetry, Short Fiction, Short Story and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to “Embracing America”

  1. billgncs says:

    why assimilate when you can conquer… this was epic VB

  2. Glenn Buttkus says:

    Epic, indeed, & chilling, & brimming with the kind of fears, sad truths, dissonance, misguided misunderstood misplaced loyalties; yes, you were the dupe, the cover, the mantle–& the betrayal of your kindness stings like a stiletto heel into your kidneys; a grand tale; ripped from the headlines, farmed from our ferocious fears.

  3. MarinaSofia says:

    Well, well, quite a story there – hope it wasn’t real, because it must have been quite heartbreaking to feel so used and betrayed. And always so hard to understand why.

  4. such hard choices.. still there are things happening around the world that make it almost incomprehensible .. what a contrast to Hamish’s piece.. like different part of a coin… I always hope for compromise and middle ways.. but against the force of steadfast stance where can you find any-thing but no-man’s land.

  5. claudia says:

    oh heck yes – what björn says above – what a contrast to hamish’s piece… and how shocking if someone kinda steals into your life and you think you know them and find out it’s all different than you were expecting…tough

  6. brian miller says:

    yikes….you let this develop very nicely man…what we let on…what others see can hide our true reality…our true alegiance…and this nibbles a bit at our own securities…and interesting tale man…and i wonder how close to reality…

  7. Lena Wallis says:

    I like this. You held my attention throughout and surprised me several times with the turns you took in your storyline.

  8. never know what goes on behind closed doors aye… creepy write. Can’t trust a nice ass in short-shorts…

  9. rosross says:

    I think one needs to impute the best of motives to all at all times. I don’t see why this equates with treachery. As someone who also comes from an immigrant nation, I know it takes time for people to integrate and assimilate and many women who come from patriarchal cultures have a difficult time living in a modern, Western culture. Her ‘men’ might not even know she goes uncovered. She is brave if she does, incredibly courageous and this alone signifies how much she wants to be a part of her new country. What she is at home is what is demanded of her.

    I have also lived in countries like India where what a woman is outside the home is not what she is inside. Those of us who have deep roots in developed nations with a solid belief in human rights and gender equality can only be grateful that we are not so torn.

  10. FREEDOM i think is the greatest human need.. it can be covered.. it can be subjugated.. oppressed.. repressed.. but the nature.. dwelling WILL rise given the ‘Kundalini’ opportunity to once again..COME ALIVE!

    So the snake falls and rises.. but does want to be free.. and the will to survive does require compromises.. and sometimes the compromise.. is a prison.. that holds the snake back.. from regaining freedom..

    One step at a time.. sometimes a step back.. a step forward then a step back…

    But a taste of freedom.. is worth the journey back and forth…

    And i see that struggle in REAL LIFE.. AMONG my Muslim girl/women FRIENDS.. AS THEY DO STRUGGLE FOR THE LIFE BLOOD OF FREEDOM.. IN every crevice of LIGHT THEY CAN find…

    And if this is anywhere close to nonfiction..you my friend.. are a light of that.. even with the step back.. the light is hard to forget… and that truly is what our country leads.. through all the conflicts.. freedom rings..

    TRUTH.. AS ALWAYS… before.. and now too..:)yes FREEDOM RINGS..!

  11. Pingback: 2777 words of dVERSE Poetic Response | KATiE MiA FredericK!iI

  12. Frightening ending. You have the beginnings of a short story.

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