Offense

Beth Haverkamp Powers
Featured image: se(7)ven years gestation © Olivia Pridemore 2019

My father-in-law gave me a burqa
For Christmas to en-

Courage me to quiet down a little
About human rights

I donned it over my pregnant belly
Draped the thick black veil

Over my head, cloth covering my mouth.
As he’d hoped, I guess

I grabbed a gilded Koran as a prop
Began to dance, sang

‘Merican woman stay away from me
And everyone laughed

They said what a good sport I was being
Not to take offense

They got out the karaoke machine
And then the camera

I waddled and swayed in front of the tree
Festive and sanguine

I could take a joke, roll with an insult
But baby kicked me hard

My performance is now legendary
En famille although

When I recount the story my daughter’s
Foot still jabs my ribs