"What's the world for you if you can't make it up the way you want."

-Jazz, Toni Morrison


An Unexpected Eruption

An Unexpected Eruption

You must write about home, the tutor said.
But I am homeless, I thought.
Still, I tried. I scrawled about boarding school
Which was kind of home, if you say that home
Is just where you happen to be sent to grow up.
That was too dark. Too politicised.
So I tried again, described me in Cambodia
Where I had been at home in the shul and the sea. 
That is much too exotic. Write about home.
The third time I wrote about Ireland
The place rose up and buried me like ash
I could think of nothing else for days
A soft urgent mountain leaking smoke and dust
Back to my childhood and beyond
To the place where my people are buried
Four hundred years, in the same spot
You could draw a map of the graves there
And link me to them all. I wrote for weeks.
She explained about stereotype, Ireland was elsewhere
he knew about Ireland because she had come
Over to Dublin once, for a conference.
I should read Irish books. Learn the real place.
I am not at home in this class.


Siobhan Rosenthal is holder of the International Student Playscript Award and is a creative writing student at MIT. She has over a dozen fiction and nonfiction publications, including in the London Times. Her poetry and art is currently featured in a national exhibition of women’s writers in New Zealand. She lives in New Zealand and grew up in England and Ireland.


Cover photo by Luke Stackpoole on Unsplash

"Are You Jewish?" and Danse Macabre

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