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Where is My Country

This poem was published in the April 2022 edition of Font ( The accompanying photo is a something I took in Egypt many moons ago, and then played with.

Where is my goddamn country

whose floods disarm roads and

neighbours track the shame

of torn bras and underwear in the rain.

Don’t you look don’t you turn away

don’t you leave this is my country

let me see your travel papers

thwak! my stamp my face my words

my language impossible to leave without it

promises detain me

I’m not going anywhere today.

Where is my country?

The one I wrote about but in the wrong

accent saying things I never meant

as the wheels sucked up the clay from the riverbed

and sprayed it onto our faces

hardening into masks that hurt when we smiled

not that we tried, it wasn’t that kind of wild.

It was the time you held out your hands

at the border crossing and the agent said

I know another name we can call you and that was that

you fled like the coward you are, my history

is full of people like you. Where is my country?

A cliff leaning against the ocean where you hold my arms

behind my back and spread my legs

for inspection with the tip of your soft boot.

You ask where was I born

who were my parents why did I leave

who sent me in whom do I believe

until it’s too much even for you and

my laughter cuts your serious face

to pieces.

Where is my country.

Too many allegiances what a luxury to have

just one language one religion one mountain one

valley one lover, you know, that country.

The one we saw in a movie

where he smiled like a compass

and she said look at me like you mean it

look at me like you know me

like your dreams aren’t full of weaponry

like the length of your arms aren’t a boundary

and he did and when no one

was watching she handed

him her passport

and crossed.

* * *


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