A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature
This film, directed by Anna Ginsburg, was released for World Refugee Day 2019.
Running time: 1:41
Email subscribers may click on the title of this post to watch the film.
by Warsan Shire
Knows loss intimately,
carries whole cities in her belly.
As a child, relatives wouldn’t hold her.
She was splintered wood and sea water,
she reminded them of the war.
On her fifteenth birthday you taught her
how to tie her hair like rope
and smoke it over burning frankincense.
You made her gargle rosewater
and while she coughed, said
Macaanto, girls shouldn’t smell
of lonely or empty.
You’re her mother.
Why did you not warn her?
That she will not be loved
if she is covered in continents,
if her teeth are small colonies,
if her stomach is an island,
if her thighs are borders?
Who wants to lie down
and watch the world burn
in their bedroom?
Your daughter’s face is a small riot,
her hands are a civil war,
a refugee camp behind each ear,
a body littered with ugly things
doesn’t she wear
the world well.