The Crossing

i want to paint 

a home that isn’t 

exile hanging against 

the ether with flurries of chains 

wires unfurling 

towards the new map of me 

i flew here to escape 

the ruined remnants of a ripped realm piled on surviving saplings 

growing out of gelid grass 

forgotten like i am 

i lurched out of the devouring bloody muzzle moist with blood and tears 

i had been there for so long 

i even smell of it. 

their loud tuba lips glitters 

blustering with questions 

disguised as promises 

their god-like hands 

aloud and nimble 

soft with purpose 

to protect their bodies 

reaches my body, my breasts, my breath all racy and frantic 

how porous how invisible i am 

here already 

i long for a tongue wrapped in forgiveness for the sin of being 

here and brown 

my cancelled skin offers 

language and apologies 

they do not recognize 

go back to your own country!

they are aiming 

at a botched bulk 

who cannot run from the meaningless 

immense warmth 

but waltz and dance through 

the gown of fire 

whose flames burns with pity and hatred 

jostling visitors and visitors 

alone. i am rescued, my wings 

clipped and carried to 

a home that is 

exile 

“i am awake in a place where women die”1 

and then, 

i’m gone. 


1 “i am awake in a place where women die” is a phrase created by Jenny Holzer in her work Lustmord (1993-1994), which she created to bring attention to the scores of sexual assaults that took place during the Bosnia War (1992-1995)

Born and raised in Nepal, Alisha Bade Shrestha Bhaila (she/they) is currently a student in Bennington College, Vermont. She is exploring storytelling in theatre, literature and visual arts. Her work reaches girlhood, liminal spaces, and reimaging representations among things.

“The Crossing” is a piece about migration and displacement from a home that does not belong to you and devours you to another home that does not belong to you and devours you. I used the metaphor of the ether as a place of exile, refuge, and the immigrant as a bird reaching the place. Please note that the line “i am awake in a place where women die” was a phrase created by Jenny Holzer in her work Lustmord (1993-1994), which she created to bring attention to the scores of sexual assaults that took place during the Bosnia War (1992-1995).

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