Tapal Danedar

I hesitate to be,
one of those who sit outside
the lines of reality,
yet comments on what happens
inside the box I sometimes 
call home.
Somehow Indians and Pakistanis
have the best allyship outside that
boundary when emotions run high.
Yesterday I spent the evening in
quick conversation
with a familiar auntie
who I’ve never spoken to before,
buying atta
at the Indian-Pakistani grocery store
on the corner of Devon.
We sighed together,
zipping our carts around,
in quiet companionship
searching frantically for food
that didn’t reek of white,
amidst a musty stack of all things brown
conversing in robust hindi-punjabi
about spices and daal
and the media and fake news,
all in one,
she wearing a green patiala,
me in my dress,
and silver nosering
until she reached for Tapal Danedar
and I for Brooke Bond Red Label
and she asked me if I wasn’t from Karachi
I shook my head and we continued to talk
about the media
and the fake news
and our prime ministers,
and how we both
have lost blood.

In times where our borders are wrestling
with whose blood means more,
I run a check on my walls
that come up around anyone
that doesn’t agree with me

I hesitate to comment on war,
yet I get riled up
whenever it is brought up,
my heart closing,
my fists shaking,

I go home and cook my roti,
I log out of facebook #josh
and american activists
commenting on intergenerational trauma
whose corpses I carry in my own blood

Yet, I check my walls
I don’t want the borders to play
with what’s in my heart.