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Edward Said, “Reflections on Exile”

Exiles look at non-exiles in resentment. They belong in their surroundings, you feel, whereas an exile is always out of place. What is it like to be born in a place, to stay and live there, to know that you are of it, more or less forever?

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“When the piece of a body is left (or a home is left) then the body begins being a constellation: one piece is there! one piece is there! If I leave my hair in the comb in my mother’s house & walk out the door to go to the airport, then all of a sudden the body is everything between me & that lost piece. The body is made up, then, of roads & crickets & azucena & mud. How large we are. How ramshackle, how brilliant, how haphazardly & strangely rendered we are. Gloriously, fantastically mixed & monstered. I have been asking myself to be more attentive & porous–to pay attention to the way every inch of me is animal, every inch of me is earth. I am trying to remember this. Where is my cloud? Where is my sea? What do the lungs hunt? What does the eye have in common with the teeth?”

– Aracelis Girmay