In middle school there was a race war:
the white boys tried to drown Jamil in the pool,
again, I am called by administrators to mediate
with my two planted wires, to diffuse,
to eat the bomb, a tie swings to me and says,
Tur-reek, you are a demolition expert,
bomb-proof container, and the boys
don’t try drowning Jamil again. Instead,
the white boys get a pizza party.
Instead, they call me faggot and terrorist.
A self-destructing mechanism counts down
inside me; I pull the wires from my chest,
try to choose which to sever.
Tarik Dobbs is a queer, Arab American poet from Dearborn, Michigan. Their poems have appeared in Passages North, The Journal, AGNI, and The Cream City Review. They won second place in the 2020 Palette Poetry Spotlight Award. (updated 10/2020)