apra wara

A Poem

By Feeya Asmal

I was born this way.

Brown skin.

Brown hair.

Brown eyes.

I live in Asia now. But I wasn’t born here.

I used to live in Africa.

That’s where I was born.

That’s where my mother was born

My father was born

That’s where my grandmothers and grandfather were born

Their mothers their fathers were born.

But I’m not from there right?

That’s why they ask “where are you from?”

That’s why they answer “India.”

Before I get a second to breathe.

That’s why they ask “where are your parents from?”

When I finally wedge in “South Africa”

That’s why they narrow their eyes when I insist – “South Africa!”

I was born this way.

brown hair, brown skin, brown eyes.

Does that mean

I belong to the place I was born?

Or that to every stranger

I must explain

My brown eyes

brown hair

Brown Skin?