Muskaan Soni

Pronouncing my presence

Ten time zones on a map,
Thirty three hours in air,
Eight thousand miles by road,
But who knew ?
The real test of distance
Are the endless aisles in Walmart.

I stare at the entire row of cereal.
Honey Bunches of Oats,
Cinnamon Toast Crunch?
Innumerable questions
Met with the same response –
“What? What? What?”

You hear it.
You see it.
You know;
I am not you.

Clothes changed
but scents remained.
Accents corrected
but cadence blamed.

Are you listening now?
There’s a knot in my throat
From repeating my name,
Whispering my pain,
and shouting my truth.
It’s cold and blue
I love talking to new people.”
Will you listen?