Monday, 24 October 2016


I am a man.
I’ve crossed continents, not years, to reach here.
I’ve faced fears you can’t imagine to get here.

I didn’t choose to put my schoolbooks aside,
but I took up my duty with pride.
I had to.
What else could I do?

Be a man, they said.
Be brave, be strong.
I never thought it could be wrong
to become the thing they said I should be -
even though I was just thirteen.

So here I stand
trying to convince you I’m just a kid.
That there’s a little lost boy still hid
inside the man you see before you.

I’ve made it this far.  I’m still alive.
But that’s just chance. Must I apologise?

I know you care.
You sob at every big-eyed child, smeared with blood and dust
paraded ‘cross your screens. You say “Something must
be done.”

But those kids are comfortably out of reach.
Not in your face. Not a threat.
They’re nothing for you to fear.
In other words, they’re not here.

I’m still a kid, despite my man’s clothing.
Don’t you know what a teenage boy looks like
once hormones kick in and whiskers start growing?

I am a man.
That’s what you tell me.

You’ve prodded and you’ve poked.
Stuck your fingers down my throat,
felt my stubble, checked my teeth,
anything to excuse your disbelief
that I am just a kid ripped by history from my home.

I am a man.
And I miss my mum.