Mohammed emigrated here eighteen years ago
because Tehran was looking like hell
and he had a little boy to think about.
Two years after they arrived,
his wife said she preferred the Tehran because
any hell can be home and that one was hers.
That was the year Mohammed started going by Mo.
Mo has a shop in the skyway now.
He dresses nicer than I do, most days,
smiles brighter than I do, most days
and, I suspect, has more of a sense of purpose, self, or whatever
than I do every day.
I’ve seen his son helping him
stock shelves or work the register
but, now it’s Fall and I haven’t seen him in a while.
Mo smiles a little less when his son isn’t working with him
but he’s always a reliable destination for a smile.
As I watch art students drive themselves deeper into debt,
I wonder what kind of loans Mo’s son will have
and I hope it is none
and I hope that is the reason
Mo kept his smile bright
even when some gay guy called him a sand nigger.