2018 Poetry Contest First Place Winner

by Yasmine Leland

My mother says to me, “Yasmine, can you please talk to the bank lady
on the phone for me?” I always do, but never understand why

she asks because to my ears, her English is perfect. She cuts through
any silence like a knife. She’s sharp, but they call her dull. I’m

one whole of two halves and when he and I speak, they listen, but
when she speaks, they turn away. And I know her blood, that it

runs through mine and that it’s thousands and thousands of years of
ancestry and tradition and war and family and famine and

survival, diluted down to an accent
they call funny.