The TSA officer reads my entire boarding pass aloud loudly to Dujanaht Al Rayan Hasan
Tahat & the entire line—line by line, every one—except my name, too hard to


I would say I was                         a tree
rooted where I stood—
reaching for light
in the form of another
boy, a young white man           reaching
for his bag ahead of me
never looking back:
assured, vacant, Lot-like—
but as I understand it,
trees don’t know                          shame.


I don’t know my gate or row or seat number or a comb-
ination of words to make TSA trust me this time. Did I forget my toothbrush
again? I think. I am a boy I want to say, as if that were shibboleth.
He doesn’t believe in the nature of my identification,

that my Washington state driver’s license could be
vertical even as I am standing upright, right here
—the young white man ahead of me
& I sharing the same address,
his pale skin
barely visible
in this light.


You were born…        Yessir.
Out of…                             Yessir.
Into…                              Yessir.

[prostration again]

Thank you, sir.
                                Thank you, sir.
Thank you, sir.
                                Thank you, sir.
Thank you, sir.
                                Thank you, sir.

[salam alaikum]

After that, I didn’t make a badge flinch once—
even as the news raged on nearly every screen
making every person on the plane brace
for takeoff while I relax, knowing this feeling
lasts only as long as
aasdfasdfasdfasasdfa we’re in the air.


Dujie Tahat