Finding Answers

think of
how many countries
live within my country,
contradictions juxtaposed inch after inch,
how may ancestors have grumbled
and mutated their way into my blood,
that fingertip pressed into your machine
could have been a grasshopper or a sullen tree,
how many moods and how many words
make up the untruths that have unravelled
over so many lines and years,
still you ask me with a straight face,
who I am and where I am from,
I push my passport through that slot
behind which you are trapped,
and I want to tell you
I didn’t have brown skin till
I held a moon kissed hand ,
I didn’t have an identifying mole
till the night we found it in the rain,
I didn’t know my surname
till a woman with curly hair and kind eyes
taught me to talk, feeding me salted rice and curd,
I didn’t own my name
till I heard her whisper in a strange, guttural tongue,
sounds that softened her eyes, that once,
but on either side of toughened glass
keeping you in, keeping me out,
lets play our game of inanities,
why are you here, you ask,
what is the purpose of your visit,
think now, how shall I answer,
where shall I begin?


50 thoughts on “Finding Answers

  1. I know what it means to be human but I am appalled at the inhumanity in the world that persists for no good reason that just create barriers, divisions meant to hurt and demean. I have seen a world break down such barriers and am horrified that there are those that want to build them up again.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Robin. I think discrimination has always been around, in varying degrees and manifesting in different ways in different places..but the preponderance of digital media makes it more visible to all which hopefully generates more voices against it.


  2. A wonderful expression of how kind relationships can truly shape us and have a positive effect on our lives. We sometimes find our identify through belonging somewhere and making valuable connections. 🙂


  3. This is a much needed poem in such times when bigots like Trump are trying to keep immigrants out. I love the image of the toughened glass that just boxes in nativists, keeping them confined to such a claustrophobic place.


  4. I really felt this poem and the “bureaucratic” questions can be applied as existential ones, as you have so wonderfully shown. The one being questioned could well ask the bureaucrat the same questions in return. So well done. One of my new favourites of yours.


  5. This is so poignant: “I didn’t have brown skin till
    I held a moon kissed hand”—what a stunningly beautiful way to describe observational and personal truths. It resonates with me on an emotional level.


  6. Even on the simple one-to-one check-in, I hardly know how to begin, but this poem, remembering the first instances of filling in the blanks–or blanking the full–is a beginning. Thank you for your wisdom again, always. Shared.


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