Tuesday Poem: Passport

Not all the poems I wrote for my latest collection New Sea Land made the cut – some because they were’t quite good enough, some because they didn’t fit the theme. “Passport” is one of the latter (that’s my story and I’m sticking to it!), but relevant nevertheless.


Need to travel, passport —
(expired, but still potent)
not where I was sure it was,
a rectangular light-blue absence.
Frantic search, piles
of ancient documents disturbed,
dead boxes exhumed
dust sneezing the room
house turned upside down
passport stubbornly unfound
any record of citizenship
vanished, my birth certificate —
from another country’s system,
in another country’s name —
trapped in a cul-de-sac,
and the clock ticking.
Two tentative phone calls
solitary queuing downtown,
new forms, new photos
and it’s sorted in time
the new dark-blue rectangle
clutched to my heart,
a stateless life in departure lounges
now the least of my fears
but I wonder:
what if I couldn’t
sort it with a phone call
what if
I was running from, not running to
what if
the guns were coming, and the boats were leaving
what if
I had no choice
would I do
wouldn’t I do
to get away?