What am I doing in this place?
Australia is a rich country, they said,
and you will find shelter there.
I couldn't, of course, know
what cost we would have to bear
when we left our home in Afghanistan
and began the perilous journey
that has been so much more
than a thousand steps: one child dead;
my brother gone mad behind this crazy wire;
any money we had
long since given over into all the greedy palms
needing to be fed
to pave our way. Can a man's eyes bleed?
Can his tongue crumble?
Yet, we are the lucky ones - what's left
of our family is still together. So many others I see
drift even without this comfort
like stripped fish.
We look out at the Promised Land
and see its welcome shrinking.
I never knew a country could have so much distance.
Are we on the moon here?
And people, it seems, are looking in on us: exotics.
Does that one bite?
What strange colouring she has.
Am I carrying a disease? Am I the disease?
I came here to find a safe home, in a fair land.
I find myself in a fishbowl instead.
19 June 2011