you weren't there when i was stretched
out underneath you.
as the same for you, grown old
and wrinkled, denatured, deformed.
all veiny eyes and eyelids that hold
memories of a happy land which is
no longer happy.
i was born wilting and wizened, tired.
the offspring of immigrants of immigrants,
a child not of their home land.
a child of changing states, of commute.
an immigrant myself, not old enough to grow
out my roots before they were ripped out
and shipped out, arriving a leafless
frame of what was expected of me.
i learned and unlearned my mother tongue,
twisted it in knots that were undone several years later,
when i returned to a home not my own.
the people of my land, too,
have grown into wilted, grey flowers.
who am i if not peeling my skin, dying in the
streets, giving birth to shells
and broken homes who still quietly live
with each other.
an ensemble of several generations of
shadows and vague noises in a house,
not humans, not family.
entering living rooms and staring at beings
watching the news with eyes glazed over,
hearing of the bombing of the land where their
blood was supposed to spill,
where my blood was supposed to spill,
where my brains were supposed to cover the ground,
where my bones and ashes should be scattered.
but here I lay, skinless, fragile bones, empty tears,
hearing of relatives for the first time, relatives i never met.
i am death defying, i am immortal,
i am family-less, roots growing an inch beneath me, roots i cut to
remind myself of who i am, what i am, what i cannot be.
if not guilt ridden, then carrying the generational trauma,
an inherited arab gene, a back bending heaviness.
i carry it where i go, wherever i immigrate,
like a lame pet, a reflection of what i was supposed to be
now i carry your trauma, your survivor's guilt, your bruises and
the stacks of dead bodies you hide in corners of your brain.
i feel the reality of my displacement when i see my face
on the news, a ghost of me, a doppleganger.
i will leave nothing in the soil that i live on, expect an indistinct indent,
perhaps a privileged, fortuitous carbon footprint,
while they leave bomb prints and their bodies.
and now that i am a mix of all the places i’ve ever lived,
a mouth that can speak several languages,
and different dialects of my native language,
accustomed to culture shock, and discrimination,
i will never belong anywhere.