You and I

Among the jars of pickles and crispy banana chips, he packed a bit of his communism.

He boarded the flight, the first in his life

Yet this was so familiar

He was going to the Gulf.


He found his countrymen discussing over tea

Be afraid of the Arab, and you’ll be fine.

But if you hear the familiar ring of your native tongue

You’ll know you have met a comrade.


This was not a job under the merciless sun

He was at a desk, all thanks to an Arab’s grace.

He boasted when he showed his wife her new home

Brothers, cousins, and eventually his kids found similar desks.


A few years in, he found better desks being made

They were for comrades who were better paid.

He found their chips too salty

Their certificates, well, just too much.


He showed them he bowed only to the Arab

He would open their doors without a knock.

He told his wife, he came here first

He knew more, isn’t that but natural?


They went into meetings where he took notes

They decided on a new policy, he said he should have been consulted.

They looked at him in wonder and smiled

As they went out for coffee, he made changes of his own.


The new ones think they are above me, he told his wife

They speak in English even when they know our tongue.

Their lunch boxes carry the same food as mine

They even use the same coconut oil on their head.


Tomorrow he will speak to the Arab

A few certificates cannot replace his wisdom.

Before he forgets, he notes down a few of their lapses

Allegiance, comrades! Allegiance!

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