Why I Do Not Belong To The City I Grew Up In

I’ve lived in three different provinces in my life, so I’ve never felt particularly attached to one place. That is, until I started feeling life settle around me. Roots replaced the wings on my heels, and I began to feel an uncomfortable stagnation that I couldn’t seem to shake. I always thought of these roots as enemies, but as I grow older, I now understand that the roots are in my heart, not my feet. Wherever I go, the places I’ve been are forever with me. My poem, “I do not belong to you” explores this understanding I have found.

I do not belong to you.

City of disruption



I do not belong to you.

You do not own

the moans

the cries

from the lies that

lay in your cracks.

I do not belong to


My roots do not intertwine

with your earth.

We are not natural DNA

But inorganic matter,

foreign forests

forged on nothing but


We are not naturally together.

We cannot stay here



I do not belong

to you.

To stay would be

a tragedy:

the self-inflicted martyrdom of

a selfish sell-out.

Do not keep me here.

Release my feet,

Declaw your branches

from my arms –

I do not




I need to breathe new air,

a sweet smell to

remind me:

I am here

I am alive,

and alive is a good thing to be.

I need to paint myself into

a new scene,

one I have yet to see,

scribe myself into

a narrative I need to write,

fix wrongs I need to right.

Let us part

as equals,

friends in a memoir

of memories.

I do

not belong

to you.

And if you let me go free,

I may come back

to you.

Small city,

familiar home,

you belong to me,

for you are with me

wherever I go.

My home has made me into who I am, and I cannot run from it. Though I’ve grown up and moved on, the people and places that built me are forever a part of me.

Previously published in The Regis, vol. 9, no. 3.

Featured Photo via Weheartit.


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