Spotlight: Kamala Khan (Ms. Marvel) / Sooraya Qadir / Mr. Frank, Biology

Kamala Khan (Ms. Marvel)

Ammi and Abu, and that brother of mine—
They don’t know who I am. Curfews & calls
to prayer, weekly lectures at the mosque,
but then, there’s also the smell of bacon
sandwiches at the Amreeki corner shop,
and the cell phone buzzing in my back pocket.
And then I changed. Like being me
wasn’t complicated enough. The first time
I turned, I turned blonde. Busty. White.
That’s not what I meant when I asked for ass-
kicking beauty. I thought I’d feel
strong, but nope. Just naked. Wrong.

Sooraya Qadir

I call myself
Dust. I settle over the city,
under tired wheels,
sandals, hooves, bare—
Wait on the streets
until you step out of the air-
conditioned hotel.
You sit. You pour, and pour
white sugar into your tea.
Listen: the grains
against the gilded glass.
Listen: I collect
around your feet,
in the creases
of your tailored suit, fill
up the many small fists
of your lungs. Barely visible,
I block the gun’s trigger.

Mr. Frank, Biology

The male, he said, is striking,
The male is nature’s
masterpiece. The female
is muted in color, so she can
vanish. The male is what keeps
all species alive.
Now girls, watch. The male
gets what he wants.
It is a perfectly natural thing.

Annette C. Boehm’s poems have appeared in the New Welsh Review, Journal of Compressed Creative Arts, Chariton Review, and other journals. Her collection, The Knowledge Weapon, won the Bare Fiction Debut Poetry Collection Competition and will be released in spring 2016. Her chapbook The Five Parts of Love was published by Dancing Girl Press. She is a poetry reader for Memorious and a graduate of the Center for Writers at the University of Southern Mississippi.