By: SaiGayathri Kurup

Sometimes I wonder

What life would have been like

If I had stayed.

Try hard enough

And I can relive those nostalgic memories

All over again.


The boys, playing cricket

As the hot sun glared down.

People coming out

Of mosques, temples, churches

All on the same street

Like swarms of mosquitoes.

The smell of

Sweet, juicy mangos and

Savory, roasted peanuts

Mingling with the loud horns

Of rickshaws on the road.

Lying under the ceiling fan

On colorful straw mats

Reading for hours on end

About great queens

Powerful kings, fierce warriors.


Why did I leave?

Did I make a mistake?

Should I be in this country

That doesn’t want me for me?

For my skin tone

My religion, my race?

They preach equality and freedom

But it doesn’t deliver anymore.

Accused of not

Belonging, not assimilating

All because I’m proud.

Proud of my other half,

My homeland.


Then I look forward.

What do I see?

My father, treating

His patients with

 The utmost care

Depsite the hateful

Words that stab, 

Pierce like hot knives. 

“You’re stealing our jobs.””You’re not a realAmerican.”

My mother, trying

To rebuild a new life

Out of the ashes she brought

From our old home,

The ashes that once resembled

A life where she had

Everything.

They had sacrificed everything.

For me.

ME.


So when I look forward,

I’m reminded of

One more thing.

The opportunities that

Lay in front of me,

A vast ocean of them.

This range of possibilities

Of how I could

Make my mark,

Make a difference,

Change the world.

That’s why I’m here.

So land of the free,

Home of the brave,

You may not be perfect

But I will forever

Be grateful for 

What you’ve given me.”

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