Exodus 3:14 or Decolonizing the Multi-Racial Body

By Diana Rahim

My body is the world because –
You won’t let me be myself.
History won’t let me be myself.
Cultures won’t let me be myself.

My skin holds down blood
that does not know which ocean to return to.
Creases on my skin demarcate borders
between countries.

When I shift my bones,
continents groan in movement.

My grandmother placed China on my cheeks
My grandfather placed Pakistan on my nose.
I have India in my eyes and
Indonesia on my tongue.

The borders between countries compete for meaning.
I am a hundred civil wars at once when you ask –

“What are you?”

I was whole before you forced these borders on my body.
Other my limbs and tell them they have lost
their mother country.
You forced your language on my ancestors, now
I speak with the colonialists’ tongue.
Sanskrit ripped from my language.

My great-grandmother died with the last ‘Khan’ in her name.

Isn’t it funny how we broke God, made “him”
a man; white, distant, fearful, before we said –

We were created in God’s image“.

Why do we break God
to fit him in the ego of the man.
Why do break the body and force it
to choose a name. A country.
There is space enough here for refugees.

My body is the world
You will not colonize me.
Anglocize my deity.
Create difference so you can feel special.

My blood will break the borders
you’ve drawn on me.
Reclaim every sign you’ve bastardized
as submission.

My body is the world
and I carry it whole.
Ask me again who I am and I will no longer
carry wars on my skin.

Ask me again and
I will dare to say that
“I am who I am”