I recently submitted a poem to Robi, an online literary journal, by Bangladeshi Identity Project. As it says on its introduction page, this journal in intended for the Bengali diaspora by the Bengali diaspora. It’s for us Bengalis that belong there, in our native country, but call this place our home too. Despite speaking our foreign tongue, we keep our mother tongue close to our heart, interchanging words consistently, their meanings translucent. My poem was accepted and published. If you’d like to read the journal, please do. I chose to submit my poem, Immigrant.
Like running water,
without spaces and traffic lights.
Who am I?
From where do I come?
My language is all I am at the moment.
swaying the bits of me.
Here and there,
I am from Dhaka,
The heart of Bangladesh.
I am from the close-knit family
That always stood together under one shadow.
I am from my grandparent’s village,
Where the love of nature grew in my heart,
Just like it was there always.
I am from the grandparents
Who loved and raised me with care.
I am the love that loved them back
With all my heart.
I am from the birthdays and holidays
That we spent together.
I am from the respect where we used to go to the Shaheed Minar
To place flowers for the martyrs and freedom fighters
That sacrificed their lives
for our freedom.
I am from the blackouts,
Where we would gather around our uncle to hear stories,
From the peanuts
That we got from the peanut stand at the end of the street,
And when the lights came back on,
We would groan and turn them off again
To listen to the rest.
I am from my father,
From his childhood stories,
Some so funny that our stomachs hurt from laughing too much.
The Liberation War
Where he and his family were hiding from the Pakistani soldiers.
From the sadness
When my grandparents passed away.
I am from the empathy,
The feeling I feel for my father,
Who didn’t get a chance to see them
After we came to this foreign land.
I am from the memories,
Which I clutch to my heart every single day,
And never ever let go.