What I Learned From a Pizza
Handing me a twenty you say:
“Order us a pizza! You’ve been working a lot lately.”
You’re one of my favorite people at school.
A co-worker, always encouraging and warm.
A Muslim, a father,
Always open to conversation.
The pizza arrives.
Your expression alarms me as you open the box.
I recognize I have made a mistake;
You can’t eat this.
Pork is impure in Islam.
You see my face
Contorted in awkward shame.
“It’s okay, I’ll just pick them off.”
Embarrassment screams in my veins.
Frustration that I have failed to understand your background,
identity, and culture.
You chew your slice of pizza,
Pretty much just sauce and crust.
And I make a promise to myself:
To be a better friend, citizen, and human.
eat like that.