Blue Mountain Arts
Blue Mountain Arts
Blue Mountain Arts

Poetry Contest Winners :: Twenty-ninth Contest :: Third Place Winner

I Am the Daughter of a Migrant Woman

by Zenith Hakemy
I am the daughter of a migrant woman,
The child of an exiled man.
Both left everything
For nothing.
But nothing turned into something.

Running from war,
He escaped just in time.
Carrying only what he could
To make it out alive.
But a part of him died on that journey.

He never went back to the place he called home;
The Switzerland of Asia.
Its mountains hugging the country
Like a mother does to her beloved son.

He would no longer hear the rigorous water flow through the rivers,
Smell the crisp air of morning dew,
Taste the fresh fruit that made mouths water,
Touch the dry ground he once played soccer on,
See the hoards of sheep that
Provided milk, meat, and the warmth of a sweater
During the white winters.

She left just in time.
Wealth and connections bought her way to asylum.
But nothing could comfort her more
Than the hospitality of her native people.
The same people who embedded pride into their blood.

She would no longer hear her Farsi radio show,
Smell fresh naan baking in the clay oven,
Taste the soup her grandmother made,
Touch the rocks in the stream that passed through her garden,
See every star visible to the naked eye in the crystal clear sky.
The same sky that looked down on her ravaged country
And stood tall over her new home.

This foreign land seemed puzzling.
How were they supposed to reserve their culture?
Kite Running, Navroz and Eid celebrations
Were replaced with the seasonal outburst of pumpkin pie,
Eggnog, and fireworks that were as loud as the gunshots fired by the Russians.

A new language, climate, people,
And opportunity was baffling.
Here, their tireless work would lead to success.
It didn’t matter if their thick accents
Were difficult to understand
Because the graveyard shifts
Turned a bag full of clothes
Into a salary to make sure their children
Have an incomparable life.

I am the daughter of a selfless woman,
The child of a modest man.
Both left everything
To give us something.

Second Place WinnerHonorable Mention
Blue Mountain Arts