the man across the street wants to know how many countries deep is my wound. i think he means to
ask for my name, so i give it to him. i watch the man’s teeth tear into the first thing my father gifted
me. carry me like a piece of charred meat he is doing a favor. maybe the wound is the aftertaste.
maybe he means to ask where I come from & expects it to be pain

& what is the point of origin,

i come from dirt & to dirt i shall return. which is to say, every step I take is an ode to a finite feeling
a reminder to humble my spine & memorize the way back. the universe does not owe us anything
not even an answer to where i come from.
i come from every possible crack i manage to call home
i come from returning

i come from a people first before i ever come from a country.

i am an old town on the west bank of the Blue Nile – the one my mother comes from & my father
claims though he is city boy through & through. i am part the improbable love that grew between
them & the compromise that kept them from falling apart

most days, i come from the beating drum of a people who manage to sing themselves alive
in the face of a bullet. or a beating. or both. i come from well of resilience where the rock never hits
bottom & i imagine a world that is just that. boundless, without the borders we create & call
naturally-occuring. we see people walk across invisible lines & call it criminal

no piece of passport has ever made me feel at home yet look at how easily we worship pieces of
paper. let them dictate who is worthy of the land beneath their feet as if it were ours to begin with

what is a nation-state but an attempt to play God with a people?

today i pledge myself to the dancing shimmer of my mother’s thobe & to the frown lines that
touched down on my baba’s forehead and got comfortable. i pledge to protect the hands that carried
me here & to look over each callus created in my name.

i pledge my love to a people.

Part of SAWTI Zine Issue 1
DAAD SHAFRIPOET
Daad Sharfi is a Sudanese poet and immigrant rights advocate who was raised in Muscat and Chicago. She earned a BA in Ethnicity, Race and Migration and Economics from Yale University in 2017. With the immense love and support of ¡Oyé! Spoken Word, a student-run group, Daad first began exploring poetry while at university.
She currently lives in Brooklyn, NY, where she works closely with immigrant communities as an accredited legal representative and writes in community with the Women’s Poetry Workshop. Her work has most recently been featured in 20.35 Africa: An Anthology of Contemporary Poetry and the NYC Poetry Festival.

Illustrations by Mosab Zkaria