Against All Odds (A poem)
Nobody taught me how to swim.
So, I swam and followed the rivers,
hoping that I’d end up in the ocean; the calm seas.
To see some dolphins and the colourful fish.
But the river that chose me was long
with hard turns, blockages, and fishing traps.
On some days, the river would run dry,
leaving me nowhere but in the middle of hard cracks.
While suffering underneath the hot sun,
the rains would hit again on my sore flesh.
Luckily by then, I’d still be breathing;
even though affected, harmed, and bleeding.
But, I had a dream that was heavier than my challenges.
So I continued with my journey,
following the stream of the river.
Hoping to reach the ocean; the calm seas.
Some days the current would be brutal,
even though I was flowing with it.
It would hit on my body,
my bones would crack.
Sometimes the river would eject me to the side.
Where I’d need to survive while I found my way back to it.
I’d have to fend off snakes,
defending myself from harm and malice.
Back in the river, I’d have to fend off scorpions, rocks, and the debris.
So, there I went, alone in the river I flowed.
At times I’d meet with swimmers
who’d be cooling off from the same waters.
Some were kayaking; others fishing.
All oblivious to my dreams, and to my state of struggle.
Some would greet me; smiling at me.
While some laughed the hardest, laughing at me.
Some would express pity,
while some expressed their sympathy.
Some would pretend that I wasn’t even there.
And those who ignored me equalled my presence to that of the debris.
I remember that a few picked me up
and placed me in their small boats;
helping me to cruise afloat.
But, eventually, they left me in my struggle too.
Those who carried me,
left me in the rivers where they’d found me.
Those who passed me by,
passed-by me again on the following days.
Some shouted the loudest from their lungs
encouraging me from the sides.
Telling me that I was almost reaching the seas.
That the ocean was at a hand’s reach.
But those who shouted the most rarely did anything else to help.
I also learnt that those who picked me up rarely shouted about their help.
Some used my vulnerability to gain charity points.
They’d say, “see I helped her, now clap for me from your joints”.
But, above all the help, true or fake,
my dream was carrying me for my sake.
With my dream to reach the ocean, the calm seas,
I held my head the highest and swam beyond all the peaks.
by Mitta Xinindlu