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Because Bilal

I pipe vanilla icing on the chocolate cake
shaping out Jenny’s name – the new kid with the mole above her left eye
who reminds me of my favourite niece. I place the cake back in the staff kitchen fridge.
Gonna have to wait an hour for it to set.
I can hear the kids shriek as Baby Shark begins and swims through the centre.
Jenny shoots me a crooked mole-rising smile, sits on the Leggo table
with the rest of the day care centre kids.
I lick the icing that fell from the ‘y’ onto my hand and then wash up.
Mariam stares at me through fake lashes like I’m a parent who just lit up a durry in the centre.
Always feels like I’ve screwed up when she stares, waiting for an explanation.
I ignore her by pretending to read the latest warnings pinned onto the kitchen noticeboard.
‘Okay, listen to this one,’ She says, her breath strong of mint gum.
I turn and see her tugging at her gold hijab, which matches her eyeshadow.
‘What’d ya call an abortion centre for Black people?’
Mariam was the boss’ daughter so she says what she wants.
            ‘Well you wanna hear the answer or nah?’ Mariam grins like a Cheshire cat
fitting, since she’s dressed as Alice from Alice in Wonderland –  
one of the sluttier ones meant for a drunken Halloween party.
            ‘You acting soft again?’
I notice she has added white stockings and an under top.
Because ‘ayb.
I knew the go. Mariam was Muslim and Muslims can’t be racist
because Bilal, because the Prophet, because Surah At-Tur.
Always ignoring the minor detail that their actions never align with their deen
Nothing I love more than being spiritually gaslit. I see her smile wide again.
Shut up you stupid gronk. Just shut it.
No point saying anything to her. Because I was the Black hijabi dressed as Snow White.
Because ‘ayb.

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