Do you know what a black hole looks like?
It’s a vast expanse
The type I always prayed to be engulfed by
The type of ocean I wished to jump into
And to sink, not swim
You work hard to assimilate
That’s part of the plight of an immigrant
Short of scrubbing your colour off with wire sheets and bleach
You abandon your culture
Close your ears when the Motherland speaks
You’re embarrassed by aunties who wear their Sunday bests
Lest we forget that they are African
Even though you want to forget
You’ve assimilated quite well
No longer a threat
Almost not an Other
Few traces left of your migration
History tied to a bonfire
Except for your passport
Apart from your skin
With its pigment and melanin
It is a reminder
When the school bus is held up at border control
All the other kids mumble and stare at you
In that moment you are not like them anymore
You are the child born in Sierra Leone.
The one you’ve buried deep inside of you
In your crisis of identity
You have stunted all that is good
Now the enclaves of your bones echo
And make a home for shrivelled weeds
As you try to go to sleep
The kids ask you if all Africans wash in mud
Or have to walk miles for water with buckets on their heads
They ask you why you too are not emaciated
They wonder why you don’t have an accent
Some make jokes about bananas
A few ask you about tropical storms and sand dunes.
You sink deeper into your seat
Which by now feels like a roasting hell pit.
Your passport is a pass to open doors
As well as the four walls of a prison cell
A Pandora’s box of memories and secrets.
A sign of the things you cannot tell.
Get more stuff like this
in your inbox
Subscribe to our mailing list and get interesting stuff and updates to your email inbox.
Thank you for subscribing.
Something went wrong.