My Best Friend is Jewish

By Briana Naseer

My best friend and I meet

at freshman band camp

where we are both

wholly unaware


that one of us is Muslim

and one of us is Jewish.


Our history teacher sees us

laughing together,

boasts that he has solved

all of the tensions

in the Middle East


and I am too young

and too naïve

to realize

what he means.


When Rosh Hashanah

and Eid Al-Fitr fall

on the same day

that year,


we end up comparing

the lunar calendars

in our respective religions.


We both get teased

by white boys

who tell us we’re going

to hell, in the name

of Jesus, of course.


We both find

each other’s eyes

when the coaches pray

a Christian prayer

at all the football games.


We both lament

at playing Sleigh Bells

for four years in a row

at the Christmas concert,


heaven forbid

we say “holiday”

or “winter.”


We both bond

at Brad Pitt saying

he wants a hundred

Nazi scalps


late at night

in her living room,

after her family

shared a meal with me.


Nine years later,

I’ve learned more

about the divide

between our people;


but I thank

our same God

for uniting us,


for sharing

the struggle

of living


with a target

on our backs.


Briana Naseer is a Pakistani-American poet living in Chicago, Illinois.  She is originally from Lakeland, Florida, and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of South Florida.  She is currently pursuing a graduate degree in school psychology.