Fomalhaut, from fum al-haut, or
mouth of the whale, or

the deserted star in the southern
autumn sky, and

Betelgeuse, from bait al-jauza, or
house of Orion, or

red supergiant
and ninth brightest, and

Achernar, from akhir un-nahr, or
end of the river, or

least spherical
and bluest in color, and

Dubhe, from kahil ud-dubb, or
back of the bear, or

one of the Pointers
to Polaris, and

Shaula, also from Arabic,
ash-shawlah, for raised tail,

scorpion’s curl—
all gleam in the American night,

visible to the naked eye;
isn’t it marvelous

when Western astronomers
first identified them,

these stars, like hundreds of others
responded in Arabic;

isn’t it wonderful
no bitter torch can dim them,

unmoved when a spiteful voice
tells them to speak English,

isn’t it just stellar
no bigoted ballot can inch their hover,

that looking downward
is the only way to avoid their fire

Bad News for Bigots by Mehrnoosh Torbatnejad

Image of the Fomalhaut star system available here.