A Poem

Esraa Shaalan

My hometown was on fire.
Not in a poetic, romantic way.
Back home,
there were letters that did not tangle my tongue,
smells that encouraged my appetite
and voices
that were effortlessly identified
Like my mother’s.
My hometown was still on fire
when I passed
through clean towns
and green villages.
There was still the sun I called familiar.
It felt warm
I almost smiled,
in relief.
But I did not
Because my hometown was on fire
And I was not.