The Sun and Her Flowers (8 page)

they have no idea what it is like

to lose home at the risk of

never finding home again

to have your entire life

split between two lands and

become the bridge between two countries

-
immigrant

look at what they've done

the earth cried to the moon

they've turned me into one entire bruise

-
green and blue

you are an open wound

and we are standing

in a pool of your blood

-
refugee camp

when it came to listening

my mother taught me silence

if you are drowning their voice with yours

how will you hear them
she asked

when it came to speaking

she said
do it with commitment

every word you say

is your own responsibility

when it came to being

she said
be tender and tough at once

you need to be vulnerable to live fully

but rough enough to survive it all

when it came to choosing

she asked me to be thankful

for the choices i had that

she never had the privilege of making

-
lessons from mumma

leaving her country

was not easy for my mother

i still catch her searching for it

in foreign films

and the international food aisle

i wonder where she hid him. her brother who had died only a year before. as she sat in a costume of red silk and gold on her wedding day. she tells me it was the saddest day of her life. how she had not finished mourning yet. a year was not enough. there was no way to grieve that quick. it felt like a blink. a breath. before the news of his loss had sunk in the decor was already hung up. the guests had started strolling in. the small talk. the rush. all mirrored his funeral too much. it felt as though his body had just been carried away for the cremation when my father and his family arrived for the wedding celebrations.

-
amrik singh (1959–1990)

i am sorry this world

could not keep you safe

may your journey home

be a soft and peaceful one

-
rest in peace

your legs buckle like a tired horse running for safety

drag them by the hips and move faster

you do not have the privilege to rest

in a country that wants to spit you out

you have to keep

going and going

and going

till you reach the water

hand over everything in your name

for a ticket onto the boat

next to a hundred others like you

packed like sardines

you tell the woman beside you

this boat is not strong enough to carry

this much sorrow to a shore

what does it matter
she says

if drowning is easier than staying

how many people has this water drunk up

is it all one long cemetery

bodies buried without a country

perhaps the sea is your country

perhaps the boat sinks

because it is the only place that will take you

-
boat

what if we get to their doors

and they slam them shut
i ask

what are doors
she says

when we've escaped the belly of the beast

borders

are man-made

they only divide us physically

don't let them make us

turn on each other

-
we are not enemies

after the surgery

she tells me

how bizarre it is

that they just took out

the first home of her children

-
hysterectomy february 2016

bombs brought entire cities

down to their knees today

refugees boarded boats knowing

their feet may never touch land again

police shot people dead for the color of their skin

last month i visited an orphanage of

abandoned babies left on the curbside like waste

later at the hospital i watched a mother

lose both her child and her mind

somewhere a lover died

how can i refuse to believe

my life is anything short of a miracle

if amidst all this chaos

i was given this life

-
circumstances

perhaps we are all immigrants

trading one home for another

first we leave the womb for air

then the suburbs for the filthy city

in search of a better life

some of us just happen to leave entire countries

my god

is not waiting inside a church

or sitting above the temple's steps

my god

is the refugee's breath as she's running

is living in the starving child's belly

is the heartbeat of the protest

my god

does not rest between pages

written by holy men

my god

lives between the sweaty thighs

of women's bodies sold for money

was last seen washing the homeless man's feet

my god

is not as unreachable as

they'd like you to think

my god is beating inside us infinitely

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