by Khadija Koroma, ITALY

She called me Sierra Leone

I don’t know why

I took offence

Why I felt a pang

I am Sierra Leone

Was it her tone

Her attitude

Her judgement

That made my insides

Scream England

That made my blackness

Fade to white

Or was it just me

Am I still in the darkness

Two passports

But I only use one

Two accents

But you only hear the one

Two homes

But I only live in one

What’s happened to my blackness

What has the world done

What have I done

 

I wrote this poem when I was in Bologna in Italy, and I was doing a two weeks 6 cities tour of Europe. And Bologna was my second to last stop. All throughout my travels I’d been referred to as ‘English’ ‘British’ and a ‘Londoner’. So when my friend that I was visiting introduced me as Sierra Leonian to her friend I felt a pang inside and I just had to write down what I was feeling. And that is what this poem is; what I was feeling in that moment. I felt offended at first and then felt ashamed of myself for being offended. I love Sierra Leone and where I’m from and I was so disappointed in myself for being ashamed of where I’m from. Even if it was just for a second.

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