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Posted on July 17, 2020 by VMMissions Staff

A poem by Anna (not her real name), a TCK who grew up in Central and West Asia.

The key slides back into the mom’s hand
baby blue courtyard door creaks open,
not the nine-foot, double doors
that would allow the car to back out
down the driveway and into the street,
just the small, side door, the one for people:

Dark blue Eagle emblem passport carrying,
English speaking,
white Americans
not tourists.
The car/plane/walk/taxi journey had been over thirty-some hours.
Jetlagged, unshowered,
all rhythms all gone…
The family of five rumble their suitcases on the grey cement.

Our key went click;
My baby blue gate swung wide
bidding us enter
In English “house” and “yard” and “barn” are seperate words
but hovli is a slidable, flexible, interchangeable word for all three.
It is the square where trees, animals, and children
Grow, play, and change
Each in their own way.

Two mud brick walls and L-shaped living quarters
make up the square with the garden in the middle
and cement walkways
connect the different sections of the living quarters.
Each doorway has a small entry way
For shoes
Making the distinction between outside shoes and inside socks

The dust lay thick on our walkway.
No one had swept for nearly three months.
We had been Away
on “home leave”
where you rarely unpack
your suitcase
or real thoughts
because if you do you’ll just have to
another relative, supporter, parents’ friend’s child, or stranger on the bus.
All of this all over again
in a few hours
or days
Or–if you’re lucky–
a week.

Some people scatter their stories:
a feeling to Aunt Somebody
an inspiration for nameless cousin dear
a song to his father’s best man’s grandpa,
but no one sees the Full Picture
Everyone sees individual brushstrokes
Of me
Of my brothers, of my parents, of my fellow TCKs,
and I am left to wonder
what everyone would say
if they saw the whole, my painting
framed with soft, brown wood
set behind a gently smudged triangle
of glass.

No one but God sees the whole thing,
I have no single human to help me examine my full self,
so sometimes
I forget
the whole painting.
I focus on what those around me can see.
It’s a form of politeness.
They won’t understand,
It’s not their fault,
so I pretend that the part of the picture they see
is the whole thing.
It’s easier that way.
It’s not a lie,
Maybe it is,
but when no one sees the whole thing
except God
it sure is easy to lie.

Filed in: All posts, Transforming


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