The Ant Lion

Crouched down in the hot dry sand

she held the twig lightly

and twirled it once, then twice

on the rim of the perfectly formed cone

waiting for the moment when the

spiny, cross ant lion would dart out for a meal.

His disappointment was only temporary

as with infinite patience he would settle back down

and wait for the next unsuspecting creature

to tumble inelegantly down into his lair.


The Rainy Season

Time is not on the side of those who live in a hard-baked land

where rain used to come down, predictably,

in the rainy season.

Time is not on the side of those who wait for green shoots

to push their way through the dry red earth

in the rainy season.

Time is not on the side of those who collect water from springs

and rivers that are now no more,

in the rainy season.


Not one of us are just one word.

Not one of us are only one thing.

Not one of us is a simple shortcut.

Like capital R, Refugee.

A simple catch-all word that catches nothing

of the person other than they left their home

and sought refuge elsewhere.

Other than the fact that they risked everything

to flee the place of their birth, handing over their lives

and their hopes to strangers. To unknowns.

But that part of them, the leaving part,

is so little compared to the whole of them.

To a life lived in full, to parents and grandparents

and graves visited on anniversaries, to celebrations

of days that matter. To food and talk and music.

To neighbourhoods, familiar and easy.

To wonder and knowledge and fear. To the things

taken for granted until they cannot be. To waking up

to a day stretching out, and just living that day. And the next,

with hardship and love and comfort and pain.  

That simple word refugee meant nothing until suddenly it did.

Until it became all that you were, because you had no choice.

Until everything else that was you, up until that day,   

crumbled into the ruins of your home.

Not one of us are just one word.


Home is a different kind of a thing

when you have been at home all over.

When you are not of a place that has always been with you,

a place that knows you almost as well as you know it.

A place where your grandparents and those before them

cried, laughed and loved while stumbling through their lives.

Home is a different kind of a thing

when the trees that you grew up with are far from you

growing old without your knowledge.

Your child memories trapped in your mind and your heart,

not casually revisited every so often by just being there in your adult self.

Home is a different kind of a thing when you do go back

to a place that was once yours. A visitor, half in and half out.

An almost stranger but not. Exclaiming with delight at things

and places, remembered with the sharpness of childhood.

But that’s all OK, because home now is where you are.

New memories joining those from long ago.

New trees growing close to you, tall and solid in the wind.

New tears and love and laughter, new delight at the recently remembered,

as you and yours stumble through your lives. At home.