My sister Chaitali Sen has a poem hanging in the Prizer Gallery in Austin, accompanying photographs of bird nests by Sharon Beal, some dating back more than a century. This is my favorite part of this untitled poem. Austinites, check out the exhibit and the reading on December 9. My favorite part of this poem on immigration:

Someone said:

every immigrant

is the person who is

and the person

that might

have been,

every place a tangle

of rapid conquests

and slow


every home


Migration is such a core part of human existence. It never stops because the earth, a country, societies never stop changing. The people of every place on earth have, in the course of human history, been both conquered and conquerer. Is our role in the here and now the only one that matters? I wonder all the time about who I might have been if my family had never left India. Whoever that is, she is inside me too, as well as the person I did turn out to be.