Homeland by Kowthar Shire

This is my homeland.
The soil from which I blossomed.
My roots tangled together as I grew,
wrapping around the thin bark of an acacia tree.

I remember running through the long grass.
feeling the soft bed of dirt under my feet,
feeling the wind whisper in our hair.

I remember the river
that watched me wax like slivers of the moon.
The cool waves that embraced me when
the sun was merciless,
that overflowed when the rain battered down.

I don’t remember any of this. Because
a homeland is just land if you were never there.
Although your soul feels sown into the ground
riddled with your mother’s footprints,
it was never the ground under your feet.
That olive tree you see in your dreams
didn’t loom above you. You close your eyes
and feel the coolness of its shade,
you open your eyes, and the vision scatters.

You sift through memories you never lived,
like your body was once a home for someone else,
and they left everything behind.
Places you’ve never been, you see behind your eyelids.
Homeland isn’t home if you were never there,
but this homeland speaks to you still.
Oceans away, it calls to you. It tells you to come home.