In celebration of our theme, Nomads, Homes, and Habitats, I am sharing an excerpt from a poem by Warsan Shire. She is a Kenyan-born Somali poet who is based in London. She is currently the poetry editor of SPOOK magazine, a “space for alternative voices, emerging narratives, and noted storytellers” that features essays, poetry, fiction, and photography.
Head over to Books 4 Learning for the Poetry Friday round up!
by Warsan Shire
no one leaves home unless
home is the mouth of a shark
you only run for the border
when you see the whole city running as well
your neighbors running faster than you
breath bloody in their throats
the boy you went to school with
who kissed you dizzy behind the old tin factory
is holding a gun bigger than his body
you only leave home
when home won’t let you stay.
no one leaves home unless home chases you
fire under feet
hot blood in your belly
it’s not something you ever thought of doing
until the blade burnt threats into
and even then you carried the anthem under
only tearing up your passport in an airport toilets
sobbing as each mouthful of paper
made it clear that you wouldn’t be going back.