Gemishka Chetty, 2020


white noise on the TV screens
loud whispers on the trains
stone stares as you walk into the room

drowning in their square shaped boxes
my ancestors were painted in different colours
my ancestors were betrayed in those square boxes
with corns on their feet and memories displaced
they travelled along oceans and continents

sacrifice breathes true
sacrifice bleed from the sweat rolling down their faces
sacrifice screamed into my eyes
sacrifice gave birth to me

away into the greenlands, cold air and unforgiving judgment
away into the dreams of our young minds,
in front of the TV screen they were formed
from the black and white channels of frustration and fear

when bringing out those pungent lunchboxes left us isolated and ashamed
when the name calls and the racial slurs were summoned into our souls,
we created,
we sang,
we survived.

To regain our strength means to be reborn in a new migrant world as the child,
with our culture tattooed on our skins,
and our rhymes pleading to be equal.

Don’t assume she doesn’t speak English.
Don’t assume she knows her mother tongue either,

hear her when she dives into these long white clouds,
her identity wrapped in between the fluffiness and the forgotten,

tongue-tied into the grief of her mother,
as she speaks the words of a different scent,
itched between assimilation and integration,
weaved in and out of customs and conformity,
trapped between two worlds of her parent and her children

exquisitely now, washing the stains in the valley of milk,
they remember, but they will never forget,
when the curried pots were set on fire.