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News and updates from around the Ujima Ecosystem.

April Showers Edition: Hometown Nocturne, a poem by Yasmine Ameli

In this month's edition of the Ujima WIRE, poet Yasmine Ameli memorializes her New England upbringing and the complications that arise from small towns embedded with coloniality and personal history.


After seven years south of home, I unpack my sedan 

in my mother’s garage under whose hood the neighbor kids and I

once gathered for lightning storms, the rain

a pelting white sheet we dared one another to cut through.

We combed the New England woodland brush that flanked

our houses for miles, climbed stonewalls and stepped over wire

fences from the old dairy farm, stumbled upon a WWII memorial’s

crumbling stone tower and divisions of flags 

—the sheer number of which a French girl once told me was so American—

and she was right. In the town center, a band played Beach Boys’ covers.

At the high school football field, speakers blared the score.

A small clique of immigrants’ kids huddled on the frosted bleachers.

We guessed at the identity of the student under the costume of The Colonial, 

our town mascot in navy blue and gold and with an old/new empire smirk. 

Motorcycles, trucks, and antique cars revved 

up the street toward the Candy Mansion’s car shows off Route 20

where fair rides pinwheeled and children’s ice creams slid off their cones. 

A town guide brags that White City—what we called our downtown— 

was once an amusement park, replete with funhouses and minstrel shows,

until the whole of it burned down in a fire. In my teens,

it was a shopping complex where I scooped frozen yogurt flavors like potato

from melting tubs and then asked others’ parents for a ride

home to the other side of town where our porches smelled of basmati.

At twilight, Baba Bozorg and I looped the neighborhood,

pausing at the gap in the trees where a train to elsewhere called 

from its tracks, once before dinner and two times after. 


after Leila Chatti


Yasmine Ameli (she/her) is an Iranian American poet and essayist based in Massachusetts. Her writing has appeared in POETRY, Ploughshares, The Sun, the Southern Review, and elsewhere. Passionate about democratizing writing, publishing, and arts funding resources, she works as a holistic writing coach for creative writers seeking guidance on cultivating sustainable writing practices, developing manuscripts, submitting writing to literary magazines, and applying for grants, fellowships, and residencies. To learn more about her writing and consultation services, find her at and on Instagram @yasmineameli.


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