Issue 3 Poetry

Dreams of a Young Refugee

Once, I dreamed.
I dreamed the impossible dream –
I imagined the best version of me
exploring the most wondrous possibilities this world could offer.
The sky was my limit
and the ocean my oyster.

Once I dreamed.
The kind of dream that made my soul sing,
my heart fly,
my feet dance and
my eyes sparkle.

Once I dreamed.
I dreamed with open eyes –
staring at anything and everything that brought me closer to those dreams,
staring at every possibility with a piercing gaze,
not looking away once.

Once I dreamed.
When dreaming still seemed possible
and effortless
and affordable.

I found myself in a place so dark, I could not even see.
I could only feel
somewhere in the darkening corner, the pounding of my heart
intertwined with the chirping of insects and the hissing of snakes.
My body half-wet and covered in mud

as my mind strived to find answers
to complicated questions.
The impossible dream disappeared somewhere –
a dark and mysterious somewhere.
I tried to find it but the shackles of
uncertainty, helplessness and desperation
weighed too heavily.

“Will I ever be able to break free?”
My mind questioned day after day after day
until, it stopped asking.
Until, it started to see the shackles as destiny.
Until possible dreams were no longer an option.

It was only when Quetta’s sky above my head was no longer there
that the realisation hit –
that all along, dreaming had been a privilege.
A privilege I took a little too for granted,
a privilege I was no longer entitled to

how can someone dream when there is no land on earth to call home?
How can someone dream when every day is a struggle for the bare minimum?
How can someone dream when the future promises nothing but uncertainty?
How can someone dream when the world deems them less than human?
How can someone dream to thrive when survival is at stake?

And how would someone dream when every day is a battle to keep the flicker of hope alive?

Hope –
the only driver of life when all else fails,
the only catalyst of light when darkness takes over.
Once I dreamed,

until I had to choose between the strenuous battle of
keeping the tiny flicker of hope ignited
or to keep dreaming.

I chose the former –
hoping over dreaming.
I chose to hope that the dark clouds of agony and misery would disappear
somewhere distant, somewhere alien.
I chose to hope that the painful shackles would break one day.
I chose to hope that I will be entitled to my rights once again and be treated like a HUMAN.
I chose to hope that one day I will be able to dream again.

And I chose hope every single day,
even when the winds felt strong enough to extinguish the tiny flicker of hope.
I held on to it –
I held on for the sake of that impossible dream that once made my soul sing.

Looking back, I made the right choice.
Because hope saved me
as it always does.
It helped me find my lost dream.
It helped me to reunite with possibility.

Looking back, I made the right choice.
Because hope saved me
as it always does.
It helped me find my lost dream.
It helped me to reunite with possibility.

Now I dream again,
more passionately than ever before.
Now, I dream again
for all the lost souls to be reunited with their possible dreams again.

Madiha Ali is a Hazara writer from Pakistan. She is now settled in New Zealand with her family after living in Indonesia as refugees for five years. She is currently enrolled in a Bachelors of Law degree with her sights set on becoming a human rights lawyer. Through this piece, Madiha aspires to give the message that “dreaming is a privilege, a privilege that should not be taken for granted because millions are deprived of the right to dream”.