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Recorded for Poem-a-Day, July 18, 2016.
About this Poem 

“I’ve always remembered this image from my childhood: my immigrant auntie in her shalwaar kameez watching World Wrestling Entertainment. There were a lot of women in our family, and we would all watch it together. I never really thought that it was strange until I was older. I wanted to write a poem that explored those moments, as well as the relationship between us and America, and the men and women in my family.
—Fatimah Asghar

WWE

Here’s your auntie, in her best gold-threaded shalwaar
kameez, made small by this land of american men.

Everyday she prays. Rolls attah & pounds the keema
at night watches the bodies of these glistening men.

Big and muscular, neck full of veins, bulging in the pen.
Her eyes kajaled & wide, glued to sweaty american men.

She smiles as guilty as a bride without blood, her love
of this new country, cold snow & naked american men.

Stop living in a soap opera” yells her husband, fresh
from work, demanding his dinner: american. Men

take & take & yet you idolize them still, watch
your auntie as she builds her silent altar to them—

her knees fold on the rundown mattress, a prayer to WWE
Her tasbeeh & TV: the only things she puts before her husband. 

She covers bruises & never lets us eat leftovers: a good wife.
It’s something in their nature: what america does to men.

They can’t touch anyone without teeth & spit
unless one strips the other of their human skin.

Even now, you don’t get it. But whenever it’s on you watch
them snarl like mad dogs in a cage—these american men.

Now that you’re older your auntie calls to say he hit
her again, that this didn’t happen before he became american. 

You know its true & try to help, but what can you do?
You, little Fatimah, who still worships him?  
 

Copyright © 2016 by Fatimah Asghar. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on July 18, 2016, by the Academy of American Poets.

Copyright © 2016 by Fatimah Asghar. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on July 18, 2016, by the Academy of American Poets.

Fatimah Asghar

Fatimah Asghar

Fatimah Asghar is the author of After (YesYes Books, 2015).