WtW Review(9).png

Immigrant Goes Back

by Neeraja Kumar (India)

July 2021

Write the World Review

Audio: "Immigrant Goes Back," read by Neeraja Kumar

Why does the sky appear black from the airplane
even though it’s sweltering noon on the ground?
Tell me it’s the city mourning my departure—
the sun has taken some time out
to weep.

Streetlights below glitter blandly like ants
in a line, or the words of a poem. Unaware
of the world around them.
Oh city of facades!
Tell me that you loved me when I sat in your cafés,
breathed your air, walked your streets.

I know I wasn't born to you. I know my parents
lived in your shacks to earn bread and were waiting
to leave your torturous corporate holes. I know that I walked
to school in your streets with the knowledge that I didn't
belong. I couldn’t stay long. Yet tell me you loved me
through your polluted air.

Tell me to not forget following
tour guides down your creeks, memorizing
the veins of your roads—the ones that clogged
in the November rain. We’d dawdle hip-deep in water
down your zebra crossings,
while men in fluorescent orange boiler suits
pumped the water into their tipsy tankers.

I go back to a home I do not know, because I spent
all my life in pursuit of you.
Do you know how many friends I leave behind,
incubated in your belly?
Do you know an apartment now sits naked
and scarred in your gully?
I wish a crowd gathered at the airport
to wave me goodbye. I wish you grounded
my airplane. I wish you brought in a storm
and wailed that you would never let me go.


Neeraja Kumar, age 16, is a rising junior from Chinmaya Vidyalaya, Kannur in India. Her work has previously appeared in The Poetryhood Movement, The World, and Write the World Review. She is also a Senior Editor at Polyphony Lit. When she’s not stuck staring gloomily at her desktop in virtual school, she likes to sit on her verandah and pretend to understand what the conversations of crows are all about.

#Identity          #Home

Are you a young writer who wants to be published in Write the World Review, or is there a young writer in your life (relative, friend) who should be published in Write the World Review? Learn how here!

Tom Lofft

9/24/22, 2:13 PM

Was this inspired by flights over Iceland?

Sydney

9/24/22, 10:04 AM

Amazing. I love it.

Allison

9/23/22, 7:34 AM

This is just so good!!!! "The air has been poisoned' I love how you describe things! Congrats :))

Allison

9/23/22, 7:32 AM

Love the message! The way you prompt the readers to rethink over 'is anything free' is so effective and the ending is...gorgeous.

Allison

9/23/22, 7:30 AM

Gosh, Antara...this is really beautiful! I love your use of language, and the anecdotes were so effective!! Congrats so much :))

Nidhi Kamalapurkar

9/22/22, 9:30 PM

I love it! Especially the part where you say if humans can control the world, they can control themselves too!
Keep up the brilliant writing!

Evelyn

9/22/22, 5:22 PM

Poignant and so beautifully written!

Evelyn

9/22/22, 5:19 PM

I love the flow, this is gorgeously written! Great piece!

Evelyn

9/22/22, 5:17 PM

Life really is all about the little things and you wrote about them in a beautiful way!

Evelyn

9/22/22, 5:16 PM

This is a lovely piece, Keren-Happuch! It provokes such a magical and dreamy feeling.

VM

9/19/22, 5:47 PM

Oh my god, the part about changing the mindset given the pre-existing beliefs drilled in by those around us... Even we often hesitate to have these conversations at times amongst friends as this topic is seldom more than a subject of twss jokes. You put it into words brilliantly!

Avisha M

9/17/22, 6:46 PM

this was thought-provoking! I particularly enjoyed how you connected existentialism to the topic. it provides a different perspective.