By Cindy El Sayed


i remember when i was 5

and my dad was reading me a book

it was about dinosaurs

and i had to help him with the words

because he could not wrap his soft syllables

around the hard angles of a new language


the first time I noticed someone being rude

to my mother, because of her english

i held her hand tightly

she didn’t notice the lack of respect

that anglo australians gave her

but i shed angry tears

without letting her see


me and my mother at my parent teacher

interviews: I am 14

I notice the way some teachers

slow down their words when

she opens her mouth


my mum is driving me and some girls

that I am trying to be friends with

she makes a joke and I look at the two girls

in the back seat exchange a mocking glance

I never try to talk to them again


it is my sisters birthday she is 16

my dad has paid for a huge tent in the yard

a cake with striped pink candles and there is no

alcohol allowed

my dad tries to take a kids beer away

the kid laughs and says

‘your parents can suck my dick’


to you people who see imperfect English

and think it means someone is stupid you

don’t fucking understand anything

do not dare to disrespect them

for trying to learn a language

that has been used as a tool

to destroy


to that student who told my father to

go back to his ‘fucking country’

I want to break you

and your colonial language

to pieces