ALTERNATE HEAVEN FOR REFUGEES





Hayfield High School



A moving poem about the mixture of sadness, guilt, and happiness that is unique to refugees.

(Published: 2019)





Somewhere,

the livelihood of our roots are not pulled out and left

to rot.

My people no longer kiss their ears to soil

hoping to hear the hums of an ancestry that lived.

Somewhere ‘power’

did not twist our tongues

and tie them around our throats.


But I can’t rewrite History the way they did.

America knows what it did.

How they stole stories of our freedom and

our bravery then

claimed it as their own.


Somehow somewhere,

America can’t stain our white thobes ruby red

because here, there are no borders.


Do not call us dead.

Call us alive.

Because now, we have the right to exist

anywhere.

Whether we call it home,

or mosque,

or church,

or synagogue,

or family,

or land.


If it grows here,

It knows its place in history.

If you’re born here,

the land will love you back.


In this heaven,

we whisper our own names in prayer.

A law rewinds every bullet.

All the boys win the soccer match.

Trophies get washed up on sea shores

instead of the bodies of children

that knew how to swim but couldn’t.

Here,

Bombs transform into fireworks &

ashes form to halo clouds.


But there, Missiles banged like an orchestra singing forgotten

names.

There,

oppression became muscle memory.

There,

I was denied an education,

so I learned to count the dead

and multiply body counts by the hour.

There,

I was left carrying half of the bodies to the hospitals

And the other half to the grave.

There,

My little brother cried prayers over my dead body

every time he saw a piece of me disintegrate to powdered skulls.


But brother

I wasn’t there,

I was here.


Here,

Rather than throwing rocks at soldiers,

I throw the rocks in rivers

to watch ripples of recovery


Here,

My Mother’s Yemeni grace pours upon me.

My father’s laugh lives in Olive trees from Falesdeen.

Sockets of hope grow from Sooriyan Soil.


Here,

I Chant the Somali anthem

and hear the wind sing it back.

Lullabies that were once missiles

are now my sister’s voice

echoing in the mountains of Afghanistan.


I earned this paradise by a death I didn’t deserve

because someone, somewhere

prayed that the pieces of our ancestry

would rest in peace.