I wonder if leaving home made me this way

A Poem

By Nkateko Masinga

I am childless, yet I am wondering if I should raise my children here,
Or even have them at all
If they will grow up wishing that their skin was disposable;
With a label that reads:
To be peeled off when blackness becomes too heavy.
Caution: This world needs you to be lighter
Than the brown you inherited from the soil back home
And the luggage you left behind when escaping the war.

In art class I was taught
That brown is a combination of three colours:
Red (for the blood of those who died on their way here)
Yellow (for the sun that also shines on those we left behind)
And blue (for the sky we all raise our eyes to, hoping that tomorrow will be better).
In art class I was taught
That my body is
Death,
Sunshine
And prayer.

I am preparing for motherhood in this new home
That calls me a foreigner,
Calls my mother a refugee,
My sister an asylum seeker,
My uncle an illegal immigrant.
But I hope that someday my children will be called
Beautiful;
With skin like mahogany,
With skin like the wooden floorboards that creaked beneath their mother’s feet before the
war sent her running
and running
and running.