No one leaves home unless
home is the mouth of a shark
Panic is spreading:
you only run for the border
when you see the whole city running as well
your neighbors running faster than you.
Memories are coming back:
the boy you went to school with …
is holding a gun bigger than his body
Decisions are being made:
you have to understand,
that no one puts their children in a boat
unless the water is safer than the land
There is the desire to return home:
I want to go home,
but home is the mouth of a shark
home is the barrel of the gun.
And then again words that might appease the tormented soul:
no one leaves home until home is a sweaty voice in your ear
run away from me now
I don’t know what I’ve become
but I know that anywhere
is safer than here.
© Warsan Shire, 2011
Warsan Shire is a London–based writer, poet, editor and teacher, born 1988 in Kenya to Somali parents. She immigrated to the United Kingdom at the age of one. In 2013 she was named the London’s first Young Poet Laureate. Her debut book, Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth, was published in 2011 by Flipped Eye.