Immigrant

I can't imagine dying in this land.
The neighbours here have doors graffiti-red
‘Why are you brown? ' another pupil asked
‘I think because my folks are brown, ' I said

Out on our landing, someone's dumped a bed
I dream in Hindi. I don't understand
The baby words in English in my school book
At games, or dancing, no one takes my hand

I miss the smells of curry, frangipani,
The steaming chai at Delhi's teeming stalls
The cooking fires. I even miss the sewers
The thieving monkeys with their chattering calls

I miss the temple incense, the bright saris
In this new country, ma wears layers of coats
I miss the beggars, hawkers, the snake charmers
The rickshaws and the tattered rupee notes

You won't have seen a cripple on a skateboard
Or a blind boy, with both his eyes gouged out
That's what it feels to leave behind your country
A picture with the best bits scissored out

by Sheena Blackhall

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