Life in a suitcase

Their voices
Peeling memories away
layers of lives left littered

one packed suitcase
one hope
one chance

Back across the sea
buildings without occupancy
echoes through rooms
call them back home

Here they are
far from the familiar
family table and
some are missing

© Ali Grimshaw 2020

dVerse Quadrille #98

This poem was inspired by this article. Interview: Artists Rebuild Refugees’ Emotional Memories of “Home” Inside Suitcases By Jessica Stewart

Scale Model of Abandoned Home

“Working together with writer Ahmed Badr, architect and sculpture artist Mohamad Hafez listened to the stories of refugee families living in America and helped shine a light on their experiences. As two former refugees themselves—Hafez from Syria and Badr from Iraq—this is an issue close to their hearts. The result is Unpacked, an emotional multi-media installation where the voices of each family tell their experiences as viewers engage with an incredible scale model of the homes they’ve left behind.”

“Each model, created by Hafez, is packed into a suitcase as a symbol of the baggage these families carry forward into their new lives.  As Hafez listened carefully during the interviews, which often ran six to seven hours, he was sketching what he heard. Using what he discovered, he was able to mold their memories into a visual representation that leaves no question about the dire circumstances these refugees faced.”

Unpacked will be on view at the University of Madison-Wisconsin – February 5, 2020 to March 15, 2020.