Mafazah Sharafuddin
August 9, 2020

My homeland does not exist
Except in my mind.

It sits among my childhood memories

Uses my ambitions as a toy
No matter what I do, it stands sentinel.

What is it, you may ask.
And I will answer. 

It is a long, long street.
I walk down it and I do not hear
The sounds of people crying in pain.

No fetus cut out of a swollen belly
No man with his hands pressed together 
Begging for his life.
There are no broken voices 
Singing national anthems in their dying breath.
No children crying for their dead grandfather.

No sounds of battering rams 
And falling debris 
And sacrilege.

I walk down the street and I do not see
The sight of ravaged souls tonight.

There are no children bloodied
In their once white clothes
No scarves being ripped from the bowed heads
Of hopeless women.
There is no little girl
In her burnt up frock 
Laying completely still on the sidewalk.

The taps run clear
And there is no blood
Not on this street.

I walk down the street and I do not taste
Ash and gunpowder
And the copper tang of blood.

No salt from tears and sweat from toil
No bitterness 
Matured over seventy years.

I walk down the street and I do not feel
The burning anger of the oppressed 
The hopelessness of the neglected.

There is no deep chasm of sorrow
When the sons of mothers once sat.
No rage where the daughters lay
With blood between their legs.

You ask me again,
What is it?
It is a place of peace, I say.

The window is open 
And we are sipping amber tea
Spiced with cardamom and rose water.
You look at me and I see it again.
You are yet another victim
And so am I.

The window is open 
And I can hear the chants from two streets away.
They scream for freedom
They scream liberty and revolution.

For a moment I am tempted to cry 
For lives lost,
For our lives 
That have turned black with the turn of the century
When our homeland turned against us.
No, not our homeland, our country.

My homeland does not exist,
Except in my mind.

But the voices are rising 
Like smoke from a forest fire
Burning up bigotry in its wake.

My homeland does not exist.
Not yet.

Mafazah Sharafuddin is a humanities student, studying BA Psychology, Journalism and English Literature


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