Tahanan

 

They told me to expect
The desperate heat that clung
And forced sweat to wear rivers
Into our skin
Greys and blacks and rust and concrete
Seeping into the streets
And the people

They told me to expect
Marketplaces awash with
“Yes Ma’am”s
“Hey Joe”s
Coca-Cola in plastic bags
Power lines like messy spaghetti
And rooftops spreading out
Like a tin forest

They told me to expect
Rice fields climbing
Up into the mountains
Hidden under shawls of cloud
Paper parasols and skinny cats
Children who have fought the world
And lost

They told me to expect
Desolation and the weight
Of a nation of people I had never met
Whose very being reflects my apathy
The heartbreak of a girl who has everything
And nothing

They hadn’t told me to expect
The paper buildings curling up at the corners
As the sun touched their walls and set them alight
The child in my arms
Whose smile
Sent out fragments of colour
To eclipse my monochrome heart

No one warned me I was coming home.
 

2015-runnerup-Holly-Morton
Holly Morton
Year 13
Otumoetai College