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  • reemgfarah

NativExile

Updated: Sep 12, 2021



Green and kalamata olive skin, pickled

darker under the sun.

With thick – thinned brows and unruly hair everywhere

and nowhere to be seen.


Practicing forgotten terminology in second languages is

the multi-tasking of whole worlds

between past, present, and hypothetical generations / geographies.

Singing the sound of instruments unheard because

they’ve been memorialized in the voices of great and grand mothers and fathers.


Landing in the diaspora, has a

tumultuous affair with

the commute that is both

means and ends.


Greetings are whole conversations ;

constant and coy, hushed and hesitating,

long and loving and loud.


Prefers land to air, the new subway carts to old streetcars,

and taking-off to landing.

Adores the view from the window seat when the wing frames

spaces between atmospheric layers, and

climbing steps that lead up to a street market on sunny

spring mornings.

At least, getting there late is getting there at all.

Catching up is enough success for a new-comer,

for now.


Paperwork for an immigrant is a nuisance,

like old receipts in tax season.

They track each parting but

remember to forget origin.

They omit context, are difficult

to compare, to reimburse, to return.

Still, papers of unharmonious sizes must

be saved, scanned, filed in apprehension

of a complication, a question, an officer, a border.


Upon arrival, it feels like living between

the ethnic cleansing of settlers and the fascism of neighbours.

So give money to first nations people living

under the shadow of once colonial, now conglomerate buildings downtown.

Research banks before opening an account,

but know they’ve all invested in

oil sands and pipe lines,

especially the ones with the biggest floats at the pride parade.

Step into public libraries and sneak into private ones,

see a story of your rich, dilapidated history

on the bookshelf, written, published,

housed by the wealth of a nation not yours.


Revelling in democracy, in small freedoms;

finding friends that curse and fetishize trends.

Missing a different kind of freedom, like

freedom from overpowering trends.

Troubled about which news channel

to watch, what headline to pay attention to.

The government of this one controls the other, but

the death tolls are disparate and they are worlds apart.

A paternal grandmother jokes how pets there have passports and they do not.


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