My backpack is staring at me
with its wide dark eyes,
and deep blameless look
Where to?
Where is the next destination?
When is the final destination?
When will this never-ending path end?
When will this non-stop train stop?
My silent friend
is confused but ready
full but empty
tired but lively
old but brisk
scared but brave.
I fill it with my mother’s old picture.
my father’s long forgotten shirt
my nanny’s threadbare handkerchief
with my memories and dreams.
For a moment I believe
they’re ready to burst out.
But as long as I loved
the backpack on my shoulders
never complained, not once!
I fetch the stars
from one corner of the sky,
place them inside my backpack,
and zip it up.

Soheila Ghodstint was born in Iran. She has lived in 30 different places, 13 different cities and 6 different countries.

Thank you to Refugees & The Arts Initiative for their help and permission to use poetry from the ‘Poet Tree Project’ a collaboration between Refugees & The Arts Initiative and the London Borough of Newham. The project hopes to enrich communities and widen understanding about different cultures through poetry and literature.

Download the poem Silent Friend