My mother carved my bones
out of the stones
of the country where I was born,
and putting a glass jar to my lips
she poured into my breast
the northwest wind she captured by the sea.
Because she was a poet,
she infused in me her restless breath,
cradling me in the secret interstice
where dreamers live,
where few care to look.
She whispered lullabies of forbidden dreams
that, like invisible stars, shine
only beyond borders.
is made of the living matter
of ancestral lands.
it grew in my breast
this heart of a stranger.
Sometimes we are born foreigners. We are born like that.
You understand this
when once you realize you are different,
when your voice, screaming for justice,
sounds incomprehensibly hostile
in that silence between tombstones of oblivion.
To save myself from death,
I took the habit of throwing, every day,
a tear of hope and faith over the horizon,
and with it, impossible dreams,
until that day, in the country where I was born,
nothing more would remain of me
but an empty body
of stone and wind.
That day came.
I had thrown my last faithful drop
beyond the horizon’s edge.
My journey began.
I used to be a centennial olive tree,
but I had to become a mangrove, made of sufferance.
Abandoning my roots at every step,
I left behind me the Odyssey
of my own wandering.
only the memories I carried,
only the gestures of ancient hands
that tell the stories
hidden in endless Matryoshka bonds.
in the corner of my shirt
a handful of my land.
“Get out of here, you Stranger!
Leave the loneliness of a home
you cannot call ‘home.’
Go, as far as possible, away!
Don’t even think of looking back, Stranger.”
You will never be able to return.
Traveling will have changed you
and made you even more of a stranger
than you were the day you left.
You, a stranger in your native land,
you will always be a foreigner wherever you go.
Your skin will cry it out,
your hair, your way of thinking …
You will stammer
in a new language,
looking for the right word
to claim bread and future.
Absent everywhere, everywhere ubiquitous,
you will learn to walk incessantly.
Perhaps the home of a wanderer is in the journey itself
and in everything that has no homeland
and only owns
its own country-less, ubiquitous , and absent soul,
in all things that have been the same
Unlike one’s settled home on native soil,
a stranger’s home is there,
where borders are iridescent and uncertain,
where past and present and future mix.
It is in everything, and everywhere,
it could be, maybe, one day.
In the traveling wind that reached you here
who knows how,
In the moon, which is the same at every latitude
and knows your every dream,
in your daily sense of confusion and loss,
in the imperceptible boundary between life and death,
in your shaky step.
It was on that night of milk, tears, and blood
when a newborn child,
purple at birth
and dripping wet from the womb,
without clothes or passport,
screamed on your bare breast, and you understood
it doesn’t matter where you are
or where you go,
a home was born for him
in your trembling arms.
Your home, Oh, Stranger,
is in the countless languages
of all those who shout the word ‘Freedom.’
In their voices you will find your Homeland.
In their voices you will recognize
the melodies of forbidden dreams
that your mother whispered to you.
In those people you will find
all the things that have been always the same
no document, no visa,
no boarding pass in hand.
They only possess
their own ubiquitous and absent
It is they
who keep on walking in the dark
Like invisible stars
They are looking for barriers to cross.
Poem by Laura Grimaldi
English translation edited by Edward Milton Davis
Painting: Memories of a Traveler, Acrylic on canvas
Painter: Laura Grimaldi
All Rights Reserved
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