Do I Belong Here?

by Sandeep Kumar Mishra

I hold the soil from my roots in my hand that
I have carried with me here in this country every day,
As I lay my impregnable longing against room's wall,
I hear my helplessness like weeping at dawn,
As my soul wrinkles with the motherland,
I parted with my parents, wife and kids in the country of skin

No one leaves home unless your home
is a floating nest on the river Nile of industrial waste,
You find yourself among the mining crocs or drought alligators,
When you swim across the seven seas of population
put yourself in a boat of hope thinking the strange salty
water is safer than the familiar sweet land,
You have a shadow of blood in your veins but an empty
belly and the anthem under your breath,
the miles travelled means something more than a journey

My heart is full of stories of my streets,
I carry black scars from wars of white greed,
Dust of my family carbonized in dry mushroom clouds,
I carry parental house along the vertebra, pink dreams in my eyes

When the night liquidates the day as a sinful cloud
plasters its sun, everything seems shiny for me-
Migraine flash in my left brain-
Shiny open eyes when I fail to sleep-
The shine of stones in my kidneys-
Two shiny pearls on the cheeks-
The word “motherland” over the galaxy of stars
and the Moon behind the clouds called “migration”

I don't know if I am an Australian or not?
May be just a rudiment who is deposited
in this area by a migratory trade river and thus
left open in the “unwaged sun” and the “taxed rain”

I live in the Sahara or floating on the Dead sea
an expanse of concrete cities, a sea of neo-brotherhood
I’ve transcribed all my dreams into poems, not into realities
that reconcile my exile from home, stretched them into poetic lines,
The streets where I grew up is punctuated with electric poles,
I have imagined myself surviving by transforming
flowers into the bread I have never eaten

I am a brown floret spring out of your mind
from the womb of a black history birthed from white memory
This is how it feels to live and move in two worlds at once.
I came here to outlive the ghosts of martyrs,
beyond the hatreds of nationalism,
But I am marginalized to the point of disappearance
Barred as a shade of skin, a tone of speech,

Kicked by the mighty, detested by the commoner
Now I know humanity is Janus faced-
Half devil-half human, White faced black truth
I will not recommend it even to political foes or religious friends

©Sandeep Kumar Mishra, 2023