Our HOME is not yours

Response to Warsan Shire's poem - Home

No one chases visitors from their home unless
the visitors have overstayed their welcome
you only wish they were gone
when the morsel you had you’ve fed them
Your family starving before clouds gather for the next season
the neighbor you used to tithe
whose prayers made you gracious in the eyes of God
now feeds you.

No one chases visitors from their home unless
the visitors demand their share of the inheritance
breathing fire and eyes glistening bloody murder
it’s not something you ever thought of doing
until the AK47 and Machine Guns stares at you menacingly
and even then you rolled the anthem in your mouth like lollipop,
under your breath because you are patriotic, peace-loving
only throwing out their things
sobbing as each item flies over the fence
wishing you never welcomed them in to your home.
You have to understand,
that no one entrusts their children to a stranger
unless they have been touched by humanity
no one throws their food to the dogs
unless their kindness extends to animals
no one clothes the naked
unless they care,
no one opens their gates, no one risks all for strangers
unless it’s love.

No one wants to donate their land for refugee camps
where nothing is left for their sons
unless they have been touched by the hands of an angel
because a refugee camp is safer and better
than watching them die in the wilderness
animals marauding them and vultures flapping their wings in celebration
because a strip search
is better than battalions of armed mujahedeen and rebels
whom you dined and wined with thirsting for your blood
no one would watch it, let it happen
no one soul would be so uncaring.


The mantra:
          “go home blacks
          dirty immigrants
          asylum seekers
          sucking our country dry
          niggers with their hands out
          they smell strange
          messed up their country and now they want
          to mess ours up
          how do the words
          the dirty looks”
sink in so effortlessly
maybe because the words are milder
          rebuilding the ruins of the homes you abandoned?

Or the words are tenderer
“than fourteen men between your legs
or the insults are easier
to swallow
than rubble

than your children killing you
watching your wives and daughters torn to pieces by hyenas.

Like the first time I had sex
I carry the memory of my father turning violent and chasing a stranger we had welcomed home and turned against us—
he wanted to sleep on my father’s bed with my mother, if not, my sisters
if not, he would kill all us all.

I want you to go home,
even if your home is the mouth of a shark
your home is the barrel of the gun
because our home is not yours
and I will chase you from our home to the shore
to the border
unless your home is another planet
get your clothes across the border
crawl through the desert
wade through the oceans
be hungry
let seventy-two men tear your legs asunder
your survival is not my problem.


No one chases visitors from their home until the strangers tie bombs around themselves saying—
seventy-two virgins await me in paradise,
Allahu Akbar!

I don’t care where you will go
but I know that with you gone
I will have less to worry about.


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