Amongst familiar strangers…
By Sabrina Shairzay
Enormous mountains like giant waves sanded into these rock formations
This is where I came from?
My history from this earth?
The blood of my blood; here lies my past
The flesh of my flesh; the same color as the sand
How far beneath do my roots run through this ground?
How deep are my ancestors buried in this earth?
The land stretches so far beneath and melts into the beginnings of heaven
The blood of my blood; I return to fulfill.
Lost in my home, found in foreign land.
The flesh of my flesh; my heart covers this country.
Some memories come full force, I feel as if I have been here before.
Maybe in a past life? Maybe I died in these mountains?
The mountains and sun cast such beautiful sharp shadows, only God could have imagined this.
The cuts of the earth are so deep, so painful, so beautiful. Have they all been discovered?
Has every inch of this earth been touched by human hands? Impossible, there is too much.
Ashes to ashes
The language is burned in my brain, but still foreign on my tongue.
And my heart? Dust to dust.
The water patterned sand covers my heart ridden with guilt
I suffered too, I want to shout to them-
I will always be a stranger, without a home, no matter where I am
Here or there.
My home is my heart and nothing more. I have no land to call my own, to kiss, to pray to, to return to.
I hope they understand I cried for them, I wished, I prayed
Do not judge of me for I did not chose this life of mine, I was blessed with it and so are you with yours.
I live alone in my own world, without a home, without a people,
Rejected from all sides – a new race of my own design.
But these mountains call to me and whisper
Blood of my blood, I see the past, I feel the present, I am the future.
I feel the battles waged here by fists, by words, by hearts.
Death with love, hate, vengeance-
These things I may never know.
But I hear the stories the mountains have to tell, flesh of my flesh.
The lives of these people – can I say my people? Dare I say my people?
Are scattered in these mountains,
Bathed in sunlight, surrounded by heaven, blessed by God, lost in a dream.
This is what my life could have been? Would have been? Should have been?
Hanging over my heard will always remain the simple question…what if?
This is it
This is it
This is it
Blood of my blood, flesh of my flesh, my soul has returned.
I am following the dried up rivers and sand storm paths to find my homeland
The earth is stained and wrinkled from its own weary life,
Veins of the earth snake through this sand, like life lines.
Is my life line here? Was it ever? Maybe it was never meant to be for me and this country.
Buried deep in this earth here is the secret of my what-if other life,
My could-have-been is dried away in the tears of the snow-capped mountaintops,
My would-have-been is blinded into the rays of the sun dripping over everything and shining in the people’s eyes,
My should-have-been is hiding in the shadows cast from the sky buried in untouched corners.
But here I am now, am I welcome?
I do not practice, I do not speak, I do not follow in foot steps.
I am only by name, not by heart.
Do I belong here?
My history is here, but my future is not.
My past is not. My present is not.
Is this returning home or simply visiting?
This country is as any other to me – foreign in its beauty, foreign in its people, foreign in its life.
Is this earth angry with me for claiming it to be my own when I had never set foot on it before now?
How dare I say I came from here when not a drop of my own blood had ever been spilt on this earth.
And yet, the ground breathes so slow and steady, the ground moves in waves so subtle.
I feel its force, its power, its strength, but it is not my doing.
A part of my soul wants to roll around in it, breathe in it, bathe in it, melt away in it, become in it –
But would I be welcome to do this?
Would I have felt the strength of this earth, these mountains this sky, and the sun that covers all of it,
If I had been born into it? Or only this way, coming as a stranger?
Was this the only way for me? Was there not a what-if life for me? Was this my destiny?
Will I feel the same about myself, my heritage, my life, after this?
Will I feel ashamed, neglected, remorse, grateful, miserable, lost, found, discouraged, inspired?
Will I ever realize the true wonder of God and these people? Will I realize it here? Can I see it here?
Will I look at life differently now? Will I be different now? Is anything different now?
Or is still in its sameness, and if it is, is that wrong?
If I leave here and learn nothing, feel nothing, is that wrong? Am I to be judged again?
And what if I answer
the inquiring questions on my views and feelings about this country incorrectly?
Are there right or wrong answers to my views and feelings? Should I feel a certain way about this?
After seeing this, breathing this, sleeping this, tasting this?
Is this it?
Is this it?
Is this it?
I have returned for the first time.
I close my eyes and see everything.
Blood of my blood?
Flesh of my flesh?
© Sabrina Shairzay All rights reserved.
Reprinted by permission