The Third-Culture Kid – a poem



The purity of the air after rainfall –

The sacred smell of sandalwood

Wafting down from the hilltop shrines

Reminds me of something.

My deadweight soul, flapping with airline tags,

Lies gasping, dusted with the residue of long years

Lettered ‘Fragile’ and ‘This Way Up’

Entreating those that handle it to be careful:

To see it safely on its way to wherever it’s going.

Coat-hangers strewn on the unmade bed,

The unwashed floor, the weary bags,

The cluttered tabletops

Which will perhaps retain traces of my having been here

When I am gone:

A few fingerprints maybe,

Scattered fibres from my clothes

Or crumbs of what I’ve eaten.

Otherwise I’ll be on my way

Like the breath in my lungs

And the black blood rushing from my hidden heart

And the voice of Winter groaning in the pipes

And the hissing gas of the stove

And all the unsaid words and murdered thoughts

Bleeding in the sink of my mind

Incognito down the street, keys clinking in my pocket

With the tumbling leaves and the frantic ghost of the city

To a new address.

And maybe I’ll see you again,

But we both know it won’t be the same.

I’ll twiddle my new keys and feel my chains

As though I’m my own jailer.

Because I don’t recognise myself anymore.



  1. I have no words – this is beautiful. I love the last few lines especially. You’ve captured the TCK life perfectly I would say

  2. Love it!!

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