Routeless – Nidhi Shekar


I found my doll, lying amidst the dust and rubble

And can only assume that around it crumbles what remains of my home

My family lie in shallow graves, my brother’s blood still drying on my face.

The women that find me tell me to shut my eyes, that the sight is not for me.

I keep them open, no matter how painful, no matter how gory

I am a daughter of Syria, and this is my story.


I never learnt to swim, and now, I drown in despair, lament our only song

They blame us from fleeing from persecution and poverty, what did we do wrong?

I have watched my father throw my sister from the boat in which she was born

His tears damning her even as her cries were swept away by the current.

How do I believe in a faith that tells me the future is to be mine?

I am a Rohingya Muslim, and my religion is my crime.


From the north came Russia, to rain down death on Afghan

We prayed for salvation and the universe sent us the Taliban

Locked away, raised like sheep to the slaughter, chased like the fox by hounds

For thirty-two years, to not get better, but to outdone by despair worse than ours.

From outside the camp, they take photos of my eyes peeking out between the wire

Arezo is my name, and to return to Afghanistan is my greatest desire.


The white men came, with their guns and their grenades

Stole our land, sullied our living, and cut off our braids

Enslaved us in wilderness that for centuries our spirits had roamed.

Pillaged the land and called it their own, cut down the forests and torched our homes

Hounded us to the corners of the country we loved and nurtured,

I speak for Native America, in friendship we have erred.


Born to faces I have never seen, a land I have never known

Fighting for the right to survive and live, that is how I have grown

Killing for food became a game, they sent us to die, absolved themselves of blame

Guns were my pacifiers, the knives my only toys, they never asked, we were only boys

Who lives, who dies, no one cares, no one tells our story,

I am a child militant in Sudan, here war has no glory.


You close your windows and doors, and shut your heart

You deploy your soldiers to the border, and tear our families apart

What do you want, to see us suffer, to shame our poverty?

To accuse us of stealing your jobs, to be able to shoot us on sight?

Running towards a county of dreams, running from its president in fear

The sons of Mexico have no future here.


And throughout the world lie scattered memories,

Of the footsteps that once tread, and the bones that were buried,

Find your purpose, and in that rest your soul,

For every second is uncertain, more so your home.



Hey, I’m Nidhi, an eighteen year old with big dreams, and a mortal vessel too small for them. I’d like to consider myself an energetic intellectual, but I spend all my time running away from social interaction and deciphering obscure books (read: classics). However, some of the cases most dear to my heart are mental health, gender equality and the various refugee crises from around the world. If you liked this poem, check out my blog . Leave me a comment, tell me what I can do to make it better, I’m all open to suggestions!


7 thoughts on “Routeless – Nidhi Shekar

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