A Mighty Fortress

I build a fortress out of snow on the driveway.

With each pile heaved, I strive to block neighbors.

They feign friendliness. Ask about my name. I’m a byproduct of the Midwest and the Middle East, by way of Idaho. I live in the middle of uncertainty.

Neighbors survey my olive complexion. Swarthiness. That’s what movie villains always are, right? Swarthy.

Neighbors conceal prejudices. Fetishize.

Maybe both.

Looking at snow fortress in progress, menace, isolation rise to me.

Maybe I’m also throwing rocks. Maybe I should step across arbitrary lines, demand answers.

What if they call me names? Camelfucker? Towelhead? Names even worse. Sand monkey. I utter the words aloud, imagine the pain, a fusillade. Something that can’t be easily dressed, like minor wounds. It’s something that will linger, a shadow, shape my every moment, waking, sleeping, looking in the mirror. I might even strive to make them see me as someone else, discard parts of myself, change my name, act like an idiot. Surrender to hatred.

I keep building. It’s easier. Much easier.

Yash Seyedbagheri is a graduate of Colorado State University’s MFA program in fiction. His work is forthcoming or has been published in journals such as 50 Word Stories, Silent Auctions, City. River. Tree. and Ariel Chart.

This entry was posted in Fiction and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to A Mighty Fortress

  1. abykittiwakewrites says:

    I always thought of heroes as swarthy. Great story.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.