I am the stranger of this city

By Parwana Amiri

I stand among people
that seem like sculptures
who have lost their direction

They walk by me and I am in the center,
I am like the eyes of tornado.
If no one talks to another, then
I am the strangest among all sculptures.

I know I am unlike others.
From my background, my vanished ground,
I ask one of them my home address,
but words are, to me, strange.
So I shake my head and say “Okay”, but I’m still lost!
And I just can understand their understanding.

I step onto the platform, as a passenger waiting for a train.
I want to take seat, but there are eyes
around me, all around.
Some narrow with fear, some open with interest.
But, I have my own station
and will stop there with this train.
I leave.

My unknown destination is here,
always with me.
I feel strange as all strangers.
Being a stranger is not being an other.
It is being special, is standing alone.
It is being a lily among orchids or tulips,
a cluster of wheat in a corn farm.
Believe me, I will grow, like a wild bush,
on a mountain where ants survive the heat.

I feel I’m a stranger, going to the market,
where all have money, but my pockets are emptied.

I feel I’m not a friend of money.
They reach me hard, but leave me fast,
for prices are high, but my income low.
I feel strange with the tastes,
as the sourness and spiciness of our food,
fruits, of our tea with cardamom hasn’t left my tongue

I am a stranger with the air,
the Earth and the clouds,
that float just above, driven by aimless winds.
When the sky cries hard, and does not stop,
but seconds later, I see the sun shine again

And everything grows so quiet,
I feel a stranger again,
and my soul is tense and calls
for demonstration and protest.
With my megaphone in streets or squares,
I won’t stay long under this calm.

But I don’t feel like a stranger.
I feel brave to have found this intended way.
I arrive home following the roads,
to the smell of my mother’s food,
the footprints of my brother, until I’m home,
among those who share roots,
but are different in soul, in words.
In this world we may have, may love,
with all the differences we are.

22 November, 2022