Immigrant’s child

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I once asked my mother
why people called me foreign,
why my accent was different from theirs,
why my tongue did not sleep quiet upon this language.
I asked her
why they were surprised that I did well in school,
why they always asked for the meaning of my name,
why it did not echo through their minds
that I was the same as them.
I was human.
I was a child.

“Jehonë”, she said,
caressing my golden-brown hair with the
softness only her hands knew,
“This is not our home.”
I did not understand.

How could it not be our home,
whilst I slept there,
and grew there,
and was forced to understand there.
How could it not be our home,
when I ate the same things as them,
watched movies just like them,
looked just like them.
How could it not be our home,
when my teacher had taught me that we were all offsprings of Adam and Eve.

I asked my mother where home was
and she cried, oh, how she cried.
The tears drowned her soft cheeks,
she looked different,
but lovely as always.

“Jehonë”, she said,
“home is far from here, in a hidden place, small but wonderful, rich in humanity. They even speak our language, there.”

“Pse nuk shkojmë në shtëpi, Nënë?”, I asked,
wondering what home meant.

You see, I was torn between a foreign land called home, and a home that called me foreign.
I never understood where I belonged.
And even today, I still wonder
where home is.

Jehona Thaqi © Why don’t we go home, mother? [Jehonë means echo in Albanian]

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