Foreign to your family

The world can clap for youGive you accoladesClaim you as their ownShower you with trophiesFill up stadiums in your honorRead your blogsQuote your contentHang on your every word –But if it all serves toCut you off from your rootsThen it may not be worth it.Few things are more disorientingThan becoming a foreignerTo your own family,Being […]

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The moment of belonging

When do strangers become friends?When does a name go from beingJust another one on a clipboardTo one committed to memory for life?When does a visitorChoose to become a regular?When does a nationGo from a place you visitTo a base you leave from?When does a hand you once stiffly shookBecome the hand youNever want to let […]

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On knowing where home is

Home is more than where the heart is-Its where your feet are planted,RootedIt is where you have chosen to belongThe people you refuse to let downThe tribe you prioritize.Home is more than a sentimentOr a place of fond memoriesIt is the context from which you flourishA soil that is fertilized by yourCommitment to it.To know […]

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On becoming middle class

She never thought she would climb.She’d always watched her brothers climb-Climb treesClimb wallsClimb up to the roof of their dilapidatedChildhood homeAnd later she watched themClimb up ladders of successReaching ever higherAs though the gravity of their upbringingHad insulted themAnd they were hellbentOn teaching it a lesson.They climbed so highShe could barely recognise themFor while they […]

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Time heals nothing

Honesty does.Time can mask the pain,Give us other things to think aboutPut some distance between usAnd the woundBut it will not heal usIt will not make us whole.Words left unsaidLeave a deafening silenceThat won’t be filledBy ticking of the clock-Time heals nothing.Say what needs to be said.

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Mama’s house

The house smelled like laughter,Mostly hers-A medium tone chuckleThat stretched on like a happy mistThat lingered in the room.Her buoyant spiritWas a steady recognizable atmosphereThat made every house we lived inFeel like home.Saturday morningsWe woke up to Mama praying;Loudly and intenselySomehow instilling bothThe fear of GodAnd a deep sense of safetyBefore saying amen.She governed the […]

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Dinner Table

We become fuller versionsOf ourselvesThrough the people we choose toEat with,We share fresh familiar mealsThat all at once bring back old memoriesAnd usher in a warm senseOf future possibility.Fathers and mothersBreak bread at the table,Feeding the childrenWith food and wisdomIn equal measure.Mama brings out the cake-The icing is as thickAs the love she smothers us […]

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Memorials

Are never adequate.Nothing quite lives upTo the memoryOf a living person.Loss is loss.Whether you engrave it in goldOr write it in the sandThe departed won’t answerWhen you call them by name.Grief is griefAnd it has no expiry date.And though the yearsPile onThe hole is never quite filled.The substance of a memorialIs not so much about […]

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Fights of Endurance

Sometimes after months of waging warYou don’t get a decisive victory,The battle plays outIn ways you never anticipatedAnd you find yourself in a marathon wrestling matchWith struggles you’d rather not have.Some days all you can doIs stay in the fight,Take the hitsBut refuse to be knocked out,Refuse to let your heart grow bitter,Protect your mind […]

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Community is free

But it doesn’t come cheap  Because doing life with others Demands the death  Of the parts of us  That are incompatible with human fellowship: The uncompromising selfishness The incessant need to be right  The eternal reach for control. We hold onto our absolute individual rights and freedoms At the expense of belonging to something greater, […]

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