Maryam Alikhani, Ph.D., graduated from Teachers College, Columbia University in May 2018. She holds an M.F.A. in creative writing for poetry from the City College of New York. She is an award winning educator, writing instructor, poet, and translator. Her poetry has appeared in the anthology of Versos Estivales, the Anthology of the Americas Poetry Festival of New York, Esque Mag, Poetry in Performance, Promethean, The Poetry of Yoga as well as several periodicals in Tehran, Iran. In addition to writing poetry, she is teaching at CUNY and NYU, and doing research on poetry as an educational tool to improve writing and communication skills of students across the curriculum.
The America that I know
The America that I know One day sat across from me In Metro North train Put his hand in his pocket To pay for my ticket on board Because I had not had enough time To purchase my ticket before And I found out, OMG I might not have Enough cash, fifteen Dollars The exact amount in my wallet.
The America that I know Offered to give me a ride home When I was carrying heavy shopping bags Walking 20 minutes on the sidewalk I smiled and said No!
The America that I know Understood me in my foreign accent Asked me how to pronounce Gazal/Hazal/Ghazal? How to write one? And If I had read Rumi’s in the original language. I proudly said, “yes!”
The America that I know Listened to my stories of escape High fived me in the air and said, “You must be a strong woman!”
The America that I know Stood tall, strong, and green Reached out its arm to me And sang, “Give me your tired, your poor …”
Let’s make America again The America that I know.