a boy in a delhi refugee camp

from the photograph by Margaret Bourke-White - from July 2017

Photo by Margaret Bourke-White / Roli Books

Photo by Margaret Bourke-White / Roli Books

you have my eyes, large and oval,

you strain away from the camera,  

charred by the ashes of the past,


staring with rapture at nothing.

you have my nose, wide and crooked,

you are suffocating on the


young country’s old air. you survived:

a stranger among ancestors,

born on the wrong side of a new


imaginary line, riding

trains with fifteen million strangers –

ancestors. you sit with bare feet


below your folded legs, hands pressed

against your head, you search for home.

and if you could look back through that


lens to the other side across

time, would you still stare at nothing?

that camp is now a capital


of my independent nation

with highways and underpasses

and bullet trains.