Poems by Ilyana Kuhling
2017-10-15 08:20:30 -
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Metro Éireann-Kenan Institute for Ethics Intercultural Writing Competition: The Winners

This 20-year-old Irish-Canadian from Limerick is runner-up in the 18-21 category for her mesmerising poetry collection Definitions of Home


I.

Inheritance

/ɪnˈhɛrɪt(ə)ns/

noun

Definition: the acquisition of a possession, condition, or trait from past generations.


My mother is earth

Father, ocean

I was born

out of sand


This ancestry of soil and sea

has gifted me

both salt and sweet


it rolls down cheeks

makes tributaries

each time I have to

leave



II.

Relocate

/riːlə(ʊ)ˈkeɪt/

verb

Definition: to move from place to another.


A violent wind whips

strong enough to strip feathers

from fledglings unsheltered


Mosaic nests disintegrate

as trees mutate

to skeletons the cold creates


In scattered waves

birds relocate

in search of a less hostile place


some stay tethered to their home

they are not yet ready

to go



III.

Borderline

/ˈbɔːdəlʌɪn/

noun

Definition: a division between two distinct or opposite things.


My mother is earth

Father, ocean

I was born

out of sand


I cannot claim the sea


sail out to find my peace

let waves embrace

the gaps in me,

I try,

but when I drop into the deep

a fractured surface cuts my feet


No land can be my home


For I am sand

the grains in me

too easily

blown back to shore

and if I stand I feel

my bones are weakening


With careful fingers

I caress the borderline

I know that I do not belong

on either side



IV.

Liminal

/ˈlɪmɪn(ə)l/

adjective

Definition: occupying a position at, or on both sides of, a boundary or threshold.


“Where are you from?”

The questions come

although no malintent is meant

the inquiry appears to be compulsory.

It is as if they’re asking me:


“Decide your identity divided doubly

You are not land, you are not sea,

you are not whole, you cannot be

you cannot be

you cannot

be both, have both, do both,

tongue is caught, cut off

try to speak

we know”


No place I claim

will become home

accented voice betrays

and so, in space between, I stand alone

on sand

remaining liminal



V.

Home

/həʊm/

noun

Definition: unknown.


 

My mother is earth

Father, ocean

I was born

out of sand


 

I hold onto my history

with loose grip

tentatively

in unfamiliar hand 

 

_

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