Seeking Asylum

Seeking Asylum
by Karen Lynn Williams

The story is complicated,
but we have heard it all before.
He says he is Hasham from Darfur,
but it could be Rwanda, Sudan,
Afghanistan, Sarajevo.

He says he saw his father,
his older brother tortured
bludgeoned and shot,
his village burned,
but we have heard it all before.

How do we know you are
who you say you are, Hasham
from Darfur? His mother and aunt,
younger brother and sisters all
missing. We have heard the story before.

A passport bought with his family’s
entire wealth, a herd of cattle,
but the name on the passport
not his name. Not Hasham from
Darfur. No one, a ghost like the mist
that rose over his village after the rains.

In prison, Hasham
presses a blue-black hand
against the tiny square glass pain,
his dream to feel
the snow outside.




Karen Lynn Williams is the author of 15 books for children. She has lived in Malawi and Haiti. She currently lives on the Navajo Reservation in Chinle, Arizona where she teaches distance learning classes in the Masters of Fine Arts programs at Seton Hill and Chatham Universities. She continues to write for both children and adults.  Find more at