Stuck in the Middle

When my homeland issues security checks in the Middle East

When security checks is another word for U.S. Airstrikes

When their home becomes just land

When they bomb the same country for six years

When free-land journalists broadcast it

When you get a chance to make a hashtag out of a country

When you run out of characters Tweeting names by a hashtag

When you say, “all lives matter” and, “pray for the world”

When your prayers are colorless

When over here, the sound of a plane exhales vacation

But whispers trigger warning to their hearts

When Facebook warns me of disturbing videos

And my heart is triggered to watch

When the trigger is the Middle East

When I am them


In silence

When I am the silence

When im Arab

But American

When I have to throw the ‘but’ in there

As if being one is more comforting than the other

When I am Arab-American

When the hyphen is tempting you to name me terrorist

When you tempt the hyphen to be terrorist

When you terrorize the hyphen

And the hyphen is silent

When I am the silent hyphen

When I am neither Arab, nor American

When I am the middle man

Able to speak for both sides

When I am able to pick a side

When picking sides questions my loyalty

When my country questions my loyalty

Asking me to fight for their freedom

When I am not my country

When I am all countries

When I am fighting for freedom

When they are living a war,

And my family escaped one

When circumstance is the only difference between me and them

When different circumstances still allow me to grieve

When grieving keeps me still

When stillness is all they see

When I have nothing to send them

To check on their security

From my homeland

When my homeland issues another security check on them

When I am home striking different endings to land this poem

When this poem has no ending

When there is no end

When the end is the beginning

When I am

And forever will be

Stuck in the middle.

Written by Marwa Adina.