Stuck in transit: Aami’s poem

December 21, 2021

Aami is a 19-year-old university student and poet who sought asylum in Australia with her family six years ago. Aami’s journals and camera were illustrated by Mina, an artist in her 20s who came to Australia seeking asylum in 2020.

A pen drawing of a camera sitting on top a pile of four colourful notebooks.
Mina’s drawing of Aami’s camera and notebooks.

people say how brave
and courageous and strong we were
to flee a place of persecution and racism
but seeking asylum is not a journey
of thrill and adventure you want
a front row ticket for

and when you are thirteen
and your family are asylum seekers
a label sticks to who you are
somehow it defines you in some ways

I never saw what my parents saw
the same things the world sees
how children should not
adapt to being treated different and
normalise ill treatment
just because they were born into

for safety we fled to a place
where we had nothing
except for love kindness hope

for love
I watched my parents drop everything
they knew
and leave everyone they know
for the slightest chance
the kids would have a better life
and all we had was each other
and each other was all we needed

for kindness
found even in the smallest of corners
from caseworkers to volunteers
to teachers to strangers and the
kindest of smiles
make the loneliness sting a little less
when you share kindness
you start to believe
the world can be a better place

for hope
the worst kind of homesickness is
not knowing
when you will see home again
I watched my parents make promises
to their parents
and I write thinking if reunions
will help keep promises
or if old age will break
the same promises they made
with hope

seeking asylum is a journey
it is like you’ve reached your destination
other days
it is like you are stuck in transit
missing home
most days
you are exactly where you should be

Seeking asylum as a teenager: Roaa interviews Yawar Vale: Philanthropist, activist and journalist Anne Coombs