Syrian Refugees


A refugee has no country, town
Street or house, a migrant
Searching beyond the canopy of a tent
To be an inhabitant of one terra firma
Where partitions and pickets
Are enclosures, walls are brick,
Doors have locks and keyholes
And curtains have kinetic sliding power

A place for a night vigil
Where minds can tranquilize
Hearts can slow down and feet can rest
As wounds heel and scars become scabs
When he loses his refugee status
And becomes native but not citizen
No longer absent or forgotten
As a square photo on a small booklet
Claims he belongs to one place in a map
Bearing soon a social contract
When he is no longer a nomad of borders
Or a mule of belongings
Just a man who now can sink his roots
To one small plot of earth

When everything bone and neuron
Will sink – like roots – through
Clay, sand, gravel and dust
Except for one chamber that has no root primordia
Which will forever rest estranged
For no landslide can enclose
The nostalgic heart, nor change her course
From the Levant to the west
– For the road away from Damascus
Does not metamorphose a mortal heart –
After all, first love will forever rest precious
And residue of the first cut
Will always be, the deepest.


Author: meandererworld (Dilantha Gunawardana)

Dr Dilantha Gunawardana is a molecular biologist who graduated from the University of Melbourne. He moonlights as a poet. His poems have been accepted/published in Forage, American Journal of Poetry, Kitaab, Eastlit and Ravens Perch. He mixes science with poetry for a living, when what matters is the expression of both DNA and words into something serendipitous. Although an Australian citizen, Dilantha is domiciled in Sri Lanka, his country of birth.

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