Nadia Hussain is a blogger, poet, activist, photographer, and contributor to Hyphen Magazine.

I was never the girl that dreamed of marriage or children. I dreamed of having a really nice apartment in New York City with lots of cats and offers for speaking engagements.

Yet on March 29, 2015, I gave birth to my son with my adoring husband, a husband who has only shown me stability, peace and love. With that foundation I was able to bring a child into this world. I still feel overwhelmed that the girl who was meant to be forever alone is now a mother. My baby boy was never a dream of mine, but he is now my reality.

As I embark on my motherhood journey, I reflect on my son’s biracial background. I am a Bangladeshi American Muslim woman and my husband who is from El Salvador, converted form Catholicism to Islam after marriage. With our unique backgrounds I know that we are contributing to a major paradigm shift in this nation. What has always been perceived as immigrant is now the citizenry. I look at my son in wonder at his mixed heritage and the legacy of those that came before him. This poem is my reflection of that.


You are my son, new to this universe,
a perfect compilation of journeys culminating in someone
who never was,
and will never be again

Your dark bountiful hair
perhaps originated from the expansive deltas in a lush corner of South Asia
dissipating from rivers into the Bay of Bengal.

Or from the thick manes of the conquistadors
with their European and Moorish blood
carving paths of destruction and industry upon new lands
that were not new at all

Not new because the other arc of your ancestry
the Maya, who populated the vast jungles of Central America
before anyone thought to call it America
Also had dark hair

Your skin
Brown, yet tempered with your father’s fairness
lightened as the architecture of your genome manifested
Till brown became tan remnants
The darkness of my skin was no match
for the imprints Spain left generations ago

Your fingers are thick and strong
like your artist father
He uses them to mold earth into sculpted narratives,
attempting to piece together his conflicted ancestry
through clay, fire and color

Your lips are mine, full and pink
The lips I used to tell stories, and to catch tears
tears of poverty, oppression, fear and hope
And for kisses
the ones that I impart upon you countless times a day

Your nose and temperament
Like my sister
The one who rose through tragedy
Working multiple jobs
Putting herself through school
The pinnacle of hard work
A jewel of perseverence
whom I hope you emulate

Your legs are strong as you kick out attempting to stand
Rising up to see our vast world
They remind me of the legs of your father and uncles
Who were brought to this country by a mother
who crossed dangerous borders
escaping a war that was eating alive the heart of El Salvador

Your heart beats strong
fierce and resilient like my mother
who emigrated from Bangladesh
Surviving genocide
Struggling through a marriage rife with mental illness and violence
and an existence in this country marred with racism and injustice
she fought to give her daughters the good life she could not have

Your name is your grandfathers’
The first from my father
who fought eternally the monster of mental disorder
And external oppressions of a system
that saw Muslim heritage as the enemy
once great towers fell
The middle is your fathers father,
Forced to flee from a homeland, from friends and family
From a life of potential
To one of immigrant struggle far up north

Your blood is intermingled with war, genocide, migration, conquerors and the conquered
The names and identities of your ancestors are lost to time
Yet their story is expressed
in every fiber of your existence.

In you, I see everything they were
their imprints bound in DNA traveling across continents
and oceans vast
The very complicated, conflicted and beautiful blueprint
that is you
only you

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