By Neha Rayamajhi

Dear Baba,
I have arrived.
Everything is big, bright, and beautiful here;
If abundance had another name,
it would be spelled U.S.A.

Last night my roommate left the water fountain on
and I jumped, looking for a bucket,
a bucket used to make our life easier.

Rivers are clean here.
So are the streets, parks, and hills.
I wonder if the Gods from our temple too,
sat through the three hours visa interview
for their American Dream.

I miss the stars, though.
They don’t shine the same here.
Everything else is big, bright, and beautiful in America.

Yours beloved.

Dear Baba,
Sorry for the late reply.
Time has turned from sacred to scarce.
Hours don’t just move at a different pace,
they run, and they run fast here.

Last week a professor laughed at me when I said
that my people celebrate holidays every month.
He doesn’t understand that holidays make wars bearable.

Days start early for me.
Classes to the back of kitchens and the gas station.
I wonder if Gods too
make miracles happen under the tables from five to nine
just to be able to afford this American life.

I miss the lazy afternoons.
Those are expensive here.
Time has turned from sacred to scarce in America.

Yours beloved.

Dear Baba,
Things are not well.
A tyrant has won, and there are too many celebrating.
This nation was never great.
It is a graveyard built on genocide.

Last month I heard of a city twelve hundred miles from me
where drinking water is mixed with lead and bigotry.
I have been seeing empty buckets in my dreams ever since.

Gods don’t live here.
Their ghosts do.
I wonder if they too
were deported, shot, or sentenced to prison
as collateral for the American prize.

I miss home.
They don’t want me to call this country that.
A tyrant has won, and there are too many celebrating in America.

Yours beloved.

Neha Rayamajhi is a storyteller and a cultural worker who uses multidisciplinary art to disrupt and build. She is passionate about creating narratives that revolve around decolonial politics, diasporic nostalgia, and the joys of reimagining anti-oppressive futures. Born and raised in Kathmandu, Nepal, she is currently daydreaming in Boston, Massachusetts.

Image credit: “Going There” by Christopher Woods