Vocabulary for migrants

By Sanam Sharma
Vocabulary for migrants poem, Right Now

He has started to learn words. Big words.

He attempts to line them up too,

into tiny sentences of his own.

I must celebrate this milestone.

 

It gets me worried instead.

 

For he will now seek meanings

in conversations he hears and overhears.

His curious mind will endeavour to

unfold why his dad gets upset at words that

he has been taught are

 

‘good’ words.

Like the other day on the street, when

a stranger addressed his dad, and him, as ‘you lot’.

Or the time when dad instructed

him to keep moving when someone kept reminding him,

at the train station, to

 

‘go back to where he came from’.

I have always told him that he was ‘born’ in this country and

this is where he belonged.

Did his dad lie to him? He may wonder.

For someone in the school playground may

have suggested the same to him during the lunch break.

He may soon confront me,

 

to explain why he doesn’t belong,

in the only country he has ever known.

What is a ‘synonym’ dad? He may ask soon.

Words that hold the same meaning,

I will respond.

 

Is ‘colour’ a synonym then, for

‘identity’ – I dread he may query.

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