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Featured Poem: The Welcome

posted on: Dec 28, 2016

BY: Daughter of the Diaspora/Ambassador Blogger

A rap at the door to my house.
A figure peers through the shadows.
Who comes a knocking at this time of night,
Pleading for a warm welcome?


I know not who you are,
Enveloped in mystery and rags,
I trust not that feeble smile,
And hunger has scraped out your eyes.
What are you doing this time of night,
At the doorstep of my precocious sanctuary?
What kindness will you tax of me,
If I were to grant you entry?


You long for the illusion of my realm,
Whatever its gleams and glitter.
But behind this door, hides my own mayhem,
I have nothing here to offer.


My mother’s gold I sold for crumbs,
My possessions are not for the touch.
Eden was stolen from under me too,
And I really don’t have that much.


But I know you stranger, I’ve seen you before.
The rags you wear were the ones I wore.
So many years ago.
When I was a refugee like you.


Your brothers, like mine, seized by madness,
The madness that comes of despair and darkness.
They too threw their fates into the waves,
That spat them out without ID or address.


Your sisters, like mine, gaze with hardened faces,
Faces anguished by their maternal failings.
They too could not protect the lives they carried,
In their hallowed wombs that echo their wailing.


Come in stranger, the door is open
Forgive this here, our crowded quarters.
Instead of comfort, accept this safety,
And lay down your head in this quiet corner.


Forgive my suspicions, I meant no ill.
A refugee once but a refugee still.
What gains are won, are always twice lost in land.
Here, rest your head in the palm of my hand.


Daughter of the Diaspora is an Arab American with roots in Palestine and Lebanon. Her poetry is a narrative inspired by the forceful displacement of innocent peoples by war and the permanent and invisible scars it leaves behind. She focuses on the refugee experience in the Arab world and, in particular, on the Palestinian Diaspora, as she sees it from the perspective of mothers and daughters.