Adrift, poetry by Miruna Marin at
Johnbel Mahautiere



written by: Miruna Marin


Of my country and of my family
I have little to say.

(I learned it’s better not to name them anyway.)

I lived, for a while, in the almighty west,
in a country of freedom and hope,
one of the best,
whose people, unlike my people,
smile on the street, every day.

A land to be truly happy in (or else).

Historically, they don’t discriminate.
They are friendly
and welcoming
and open.
(They are smug about this, too.)

But they do point out,
on a friendly walk,
in a friendly talk,
there are expats, you know,
whom we want and welcome,
and immigrants, too,
whom we don’t.
Not so much, I mean.
Though we’re keen,
they come from worlds away,
and don’t fit in here, anyway.

And, they don’t even bother to learn English, like you do.


I know that my husband is an expat,
whom they courted,
oh, yes, whom they wanted
and welcomed and cheered for.
A highly skilled worker.
But I, what am I, exactly?

My country and my family. What else?

Someone who hasn’t found a job in years,
whose applications never get answers,
let alone invitations to interview,
for my skills are not high enough
or at least not while I’m in this country.
(They are high enough when I’m in mine,
I’ll find out later,
because it’s reasonable to think
that in my country
I won’t expect as much
money, respect
or happiness.)

I am
my country and my family,
whom I both love and despise.
(So how can I
other people
to think of me otherwise?)

I am also
his country and his family,
holding him down,
holding him back,
whom they dub “the partner,”
a piece of luggage dragged along,
most often to be found in herds
of other such misfits,
who should be grateful to be here,
in this greatest place of all
(and do it sooner rather than later,
lest someone’s ego might get bruised).


Because I know I am, as they put it, worlds away
from being an immigrant, a really unwanted one,
one that they smile at condescendingly,
and put up with, barely.

Though I feel the unwantedness anyway,
pulling at my skirt all the time,
like a needy child.

And then someone dear tells me,
I’ve heard all your feelings and your worries
and frankly, they’ve become kind of tiresome.
Please, do hide some away.
You are
where you are
where is


To be in the land
of possibility
and still be impossible
in this tiresome way.

So, I hide myself
deeper away, tighter.


And then, one day, I come home,
to my country and my family,
longing for it, gasping for it.

is not home

I should have known,
for it said so under a bridge
near the central station
back in Amsterdam,
the land of promise,
the land of despair.

My country and my family,
and myself,
drifting away,
in the black waters under that bridge
back in Amsterdam:
Terugkomen is niet hetzelfde als blijven.

I am a warped piece
that no longer fits,
a broken toy
teeter-tottering between
Why the hell would you come back here
Why the hell are you still unhappy
I told you so, I knew you would come back
Poor dear, so sad it didn’t work out for you

to return is not the same
as not leaving at all.

I am just a lingering feeling
bruising the palate.
An afterthought.

Țara mea și familia mea.


I miss being away,
misfitting and sad.

I miss my country
and my family
that I lost on the way.

Without them,
I am a fish on land.
When I’m in,
they pull me under, and I drown.

Going down!

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