Photo by Steph Lord-Wetherington

We crossed that bridge as five

But only mother and I survived 

Your father and brothers will be back, she wiped her tears and said.

I know this was a lie, for her eyes flickered with remorse and dread

In a fleeting moment,

My identity changed from a boy to what they called a refugee. 

Mother said it meant we were people with no guarantees.

no guarantee to shelter, food or drink.

no guarantee to life or new beginnings. 

Can we go back? I pleaded.

Back to where? she snapped.

The bridge is broken, our home is gone.

What’s left is us and us alone.

Then almost trying to mend my bereaved soul, she hugged me tight.

And once again lied,

I will always be by your side.