Refuge

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.