Insides Torn

by A. M. Wains

There is a dissonance in me,

A ringing, deep and beating,
A bell that sings in my head, clanging
loud and overwhelming,
Vibrations throbbing through my skull –
vision blurred –
mind rattled –

In the silence.

In the quiet calm alone of the dark,
In the witching hour before my sleep

I am awake.

In the solitude of my room, I am ablaze,
And the battle rebegins.

I am torn, you see,
Racked to the two ends of the world,
Pulling, clenching, stretching me apart;
Like the skin on your thumb when it peels – when you pick it with your nails and it stretches so thin that the tension makes you grin.

That, in my soul,
In my conscience,
In me.

I was flown across a continent,
Waved goodbye with tears in my lap as the runway fell away in the dark.
‘Bye bye Pakistan’ I broke,
Never to see that country again.

I awoke, landed at school,
My new home?
Across this boy –
this freckled-speckled-blue-eyed-blonde-mohawk-hair-gelled kid –
Where was I?!?
(he was nice!)

It was for a better future, safer future,
And it was true,

Within cloisters, under spires, here I am,
In the language I prefer but could never call native.
A voice, an accent which I cannot remember having learnt –
some Frankenstein’s mix of tones from all over the place, plumbed together
in an over-pronounced jumble.
Vaguely posh BBC British though??

But it is more than that,

There are choices for me –
priorities I have to decide every day,
And strain over at night.

What to eat, drink, pray, befriend, like, name –
even my name!

What should you call me?
What is my name, for you?
Do you even know my name?
It depends on who you are,
And who I want to be.

No. I am safer now,
More prosperous,
More privileged than I could ever have imagined when I was born.
I am blessed beyond belief, and lucky and fortunate and grateful.

And torn.

My parents’ love brought me here,
And it was so loving for them to do,
To give my kite the wind to fly.

But what now?
What now when the wind is so strong?
What now when the wind wants to pull me away into a world beyond the clouds
but my heart stays hooked with a piercing tension to the ground?

Where do I go?
with the air tearing by,
stitching myself back together at night.

The Poor Print

Established in 2013, The Poor Print is the student-run newspaper of Oriel College, Oxford. Written by members of the JCR, MCR, SCR and staff, new issues are published fortnightly during term. Our current Executive Editors are Siddiq Islam and Jerric Chong.

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