Your poems make me feel like a refugee
cut off from my homeland by some nondescript disaster.
The start of some new war, perhaps?
The ending of another?
I wonder if it matters – either way, the way is shut.
Now I must raise my children from this plot of bloody ochre.
Can you make a house a home
if you stole the land it stands on?
I promise I’ll be grateful – God knows I have no choice.
We’ve all seen what they do to those who don’t agree to grovel.
My son will learn your alphabet; I’ll shoulder your traditions.
I’ll make my customs edible and highly photogenic.
I’ll be a model citizen, and tolerate your tolerance –
I’m sure we’ll learn to rub along just fine.
But every time I read about your eucalypts and flyscreens
and see you waxing lyrical for some suburban memory
I hear my spirit whispering:
This is not my land.
We know I’ll never show it; there is no greater trespass here
than flinching from the fingers of the hand that gave you succour.
Recoiling means inviting down a hail of flagellation
the punishment reserved for the different and ungrateful.
And then the final knockout – my family inheritance:
Why don’t you go back to where you came from?
But home is not a place we left.
It’s something we were ripped from.
Chiselled off its surface
by the batterings of fate.
And how like you, to misconstrue my apathy as hatred
as though I have to love a thing to comprehend its purpose.
I know the words are music, but the meaning is beyond me;
You pulled them from a story I will never understand.
Because you are not my people.
And this is not my land.