Home is an Alien Spaceship

Homes, South Africa

Zarmala Naeem’s poem reflects on the new, strange stage of her life.


Home is an Alien Spaceship

Thick skin

is so thin.

Life is crazy;

It’s amazing.


You have just enough control

To miss that you’re out of control.

Whatever your high and lows,

They’re not the ones you chose.


One minute I’m on the brink of tears,

Convinced I won’t feel better for years.

Then, just as suddenly as a sneeze,

Happiness appeals to me on its knees.


My feelings are better mixed than the finest cake batter;

They jump about faster than the nature of the matter.

Nothing anymore is black and white;

It’s a kaleidoscope of colours on a racing kite.


I wonder how the world could have changed so fast;

Does the future really share the same stage as the past?

What about the people- is anyone mine?

Or are we just passing one another in time?


I’m still getting used to this skin;

It’s not like the last one I was in.

I borrowed it from an alien;

So naturally it’s salient.


It’s leathery and thicker;

Smoother and slicker.

I suspect I’m modelled using virtual reality;

I’ll have to check with my Maker whether that’s insanity.


Reptile skin.


Scuttling across the surface like an athletic crab;

Perhaps I should have gone for something drab.


About the poem: The inspiration behind this poem stems from a Skype conversation where Naeem’s parents sounded like aliens. Upon reflection it felt like a weird metaphor for this stage in her life, where she seem to have found belonging on an alien planet.

Zarmala is a final year student studying Psychology (Applied). She has a wide range of interests but nothing compares to writing; when she writes, she feels truly myself and one with the world. 

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