Family Heirlooms

2 min readNov 20, 2021

there is a cycle of violence that goes beyond wars and economic exploitation.

there is violence beyond imperialism and misogyny and transphobia and every other word your mother told you to be scared of before you went to university

the war followed us home.

from pakistan to vietnam to sudan and liberia from venezuela to iran to afghanistan to columbia

the war followed us home.

the violence extends beyond starving children and brass shell casings. the war is more than kalashnikovs too big for the soldiers who wield them. there is terror in these walls that we now call home.

war is the sound of the garage door opening. war is the burden of success placed on every child of diaspora. war is having a 10 o’clock curfew still at 19 years old. war is not being able to go out two days in a row. war is with us; it followed us home.

a parent should never outlive their children, it is unnatural. unholy. it is a pain beyond any real comprehension; any hurt that comes after cannot ache in a way that matters.

the war followed us home.

it made us decipher legal documents at the age of six. it made our mothers scream when we tried dressing as americans. it made our fathers red when we thought to ask for independence.

the violence lives on in the hearts of our young. the old cannot let go of their nightmares, cannot heal from their wounds. they cannot speak with their children, so they speak to them. new scars are carved into virgin flesh, that familiar anger is passed down from one generation to the next.

that heirloom is the only generational wealth these children will see.

yes, there is pain in seeing a child die before their parents. but what of the walking corpses that weren’t lucky enough to die? what of the children who came of age well before they entered puberty

what of the children who raised their parents

what of the children who raised themselves

what of the children, older now, wearing the wrinkles of old men and the tired eyes of old women

what do you say to them, those weary souls, who never stopped raising themselves

the war followed us home.