I Suggest My Lover Shave His Beard

And I hate myself for it.

But it could be the difference

between whether he comes home

or not.


Half this country

sees beard and thinks

bomb. Thinks Muslim

means murder.

And that half

looks just like me.

Pale and picketing

for a blue-eyed bully.


My lover’s beard grows

long with my worry.

I fear that half

will never half consider

the softness of his smile

that Persians are poets.

The sun rises

in the East.


At night, I run

my fingers through his

beard. The razor of the nightly news

pressed against my thoughts.


Today he is target.

I am trigger.

And I’m not sure I can keep

either of us safe.


The day after the election

my lover tells me: terror

is being caught

in the crosshairs

of a white man’s gaze.

Half this country has eyes

like a loaded gun.


After I ask he turns

to me and says yes,

I am scared

But I will never shave

myself away

so more of this

can grow