My name is not Beneatha,
or at least I don’t think it was until
when my coffee cup informed with the imperial authority
of permanent black ink over smooth white cardboard
that my name was,
Come to think of it,
I’ve never had the pleasure of seeing my own name on a coffee cup,
mocking me with its ironic green and white,
the familiar colors of a Pakistani flag.
There’s been Anita, Rita, Mida, Deepa,
and my personal favorite,
I am the decaffeinated coffee in my careless cup:
boiling, brown and bitter without the kick,
or an invisible celery stick
sitting next to a mountain
of tantalizing buffalo wings.
Madiha Arsalan is a first generation Pakistani immigrant-turned-American mother who decided to reject her South Asian obligations of choosing a “socially acceptable” career path and started attending University of South Florida as a Creative Writing major a year ago. While her interests are not easily converted into US currency, they feed her better than her former cubicle job did.
Read more of Ms Arsalan’s poetry in our downloadable digital edition.