Nadine Aisha Jassat


My Past Travels Cross Country


I am pulled tight as I cross the border;
England is flat and I don’t just mean
in the shape of the land

but in the way my father understands;
angry enough to be a verb, tight-lipped
while still having something to say;

eesh, that honey is flat exe!

What I’m not saying is that the border
is a teleporter;
what I’m not saying
is that sometimes belonging
is a lie that I tell myself; what I’m not

is that every time I travel down
I meet each station name like a mirror
of my old self;

that I consider how much a land
can still hold your shame;
or how much your shame
still rises from the land;

how much you loose
by staying away;
how much you’ve gained

how much
the second person
comes down to the first
being too heavy a sound.

A life
no longer mine

that I live with
every day.

A line
the rational mind

but which the beat remembers
well enough to repeat its tune –

in truth,

I don’t know why
I say hate you
(or if I even do)

I never stay
long enough
to ask.


Nadine Aisha Jassat is a poet, writer, and creative practitioner. She is the author of poetry pamphlet Still, and editor of Rise, an anthology of creative writing from YWCA Scotland – The Young Women’s Movement. Her poetry, essays and short stories have been published widely online and in print, and her work has drawn acclaim: in 2018, she received a Scottish Book Trust New Writers’ Award, as well as being shortlisted for the Outspoken London Prize for Poetry in Film and the prestigious Edwin Morgan Poetry Award. In 2017, she was named as one of ’30 Inspiring Young Women Under 30 in Scotland’, and in 2018 was named as one of The List’s ‘Hot 100’ contributors to arts and culture. Her debut poetry collection Let Me Tell You This is forthcoming from 404 Ink in March 2019.

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