Maxaa Kaa Maqan?

Waxaa iqa maqan,
That depression is not a myth,
A conspiracy of gaalo,
A break from tradition,
A rebellion against religion,
A coup,

62 Amani _ Safa

Waxaa iga maqan:
peace of mind.
A respite from overthinking,
of resting at night, like others,
and entering the garden of dreams.
Instead I lie awake regretting what was before,
anxious of what is to come,
As the present continues to elude me.

Waxaa iga maqan:
a mental burden, lifted.
I carry the expectations,
of achieving dreams, unfulfilled,
of crossing boundaries, un-navigated,
attaining accolades and diplomas,
of carrying the torch of hope
with my bare hands.
of not wincing, not complaining,
As the fiery flames of this forced role
engulf me, completely,
leaving no residue of who I was,
or what I could have been.

Waxaa iqa maqan:
belonging. To feel at home,
in my own home, in my own bones.
Not too black for this crowd,
too white for the other,
too foreign for this circle,
too western for the other.
How can I identify,
when all that I identify with rejects me?
I am a nameless, faceless ghost,
longing for and seeking out,
familiar leaves, friendly waters,
founded foundations,
something to call my own.

Waxaa iqa maqan,
That depression is not a myth,
A conspiracy of gaalo,
A break from tradition,
A rebellion against religion,
A coup,
Overthrowing all that you know,
Disregarding all that you do,
It’s an illness,
A dark cloud,
A swallowed pain,
A bottomless well of emptiness.

Waxaa iqa maqan:
That you too hurt,
that in the wrinkles beneath your eyes,
and between the gaps in your teeth,
on the calluses of your palms,
that you carry pain
that traveled miles with you.
That you too, are hurting.
That bloodshed can be washed from your hands,
though not so easily from your mind.
That you feel alone,
that you feel without a home,
that you lie awake many nights,
worrying about what has been,
and what is yet to come.
That I put a name to your pain,
that I put a name to my pain,
that I put a name to our pain,
that together, we can overcome.

The above image is part of a collaboration between:

Amina M.
Instagram: @4nine2 

Safa M., professional photographer based in Vancouver, BC.


Anisa Hagi-Mohamed (Author) is a dedicated mother, wife, teacher and writer. She spends most of her time lost in thought or daydreaming, cooking/foodography and starting projects she knows she will never finish. She hopes to one day publish a novel, memoir and cookbook, all in that order. She blogs at 

About her poem, “Maxaa Kaa Maqan?,” Anisa says: Often, when the elder generation inquires about the younger generations’ mental health issues and illnesses, their first reaction is usually to ask: Maxaa kaa maqan? Meaning what is missing (from you)? Shelter, a warm bed, food, and a plethora of material, tangible possessions are ticked off. Parents can’t fathom what might trouble a mind, if a stomach is full, if all the faculties of hearing, seeing, etc. are working.

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