Country-less soul

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Country-less soul

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.

My flesh

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.

My suitcase

only the memories I carried,

only the gestures of ancient hands

that tell the stories

hidden in endless Matryoshka bonds.

I knotted

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

country-less soul.

It is they

who keep on walking in the dark

toward borders.

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

“Memories of a traveler”. Acrylic on canvas. Artist: Laura Grimaldi. All Rights are Reserved

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