“There’s nowhere he can go without”

There is nowhere he can go without
Someone asking where he came from
Two smiles later with a stranger
He finds himself thinking

Pleeeeease don’t ask

To let them know is to say a word
That takes him back to his childhood room
The smell of his mother’s kitchen

To hear them say “Aah, Nigeria…”
Is to have hands of all colours
Swarm into frame and

Vandalise the photos on the wall
Change the bedsheets to something bland
Move all the furniture

They change the stories
With their hegemony
They tell him new ones
At night he sits in front of his mirror
Picking out another country
To leave his lips

His childhood bedroom door, locked

— Liyana Dizzy, 28

30 August 2015, Penang


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