Land Stories: Letters I never sent

In Earth, Season 2 by Amanda Jeysing

As I write this

my legs crossed on the chair  

my fingers tap gently on a keyboard 

my lips take alternative sips of orange juice and a berry smoothie 

both reminding me that neither fruit was ripe or birthed from this soil

I attempt to warm my hands in my partner’s comfy sweater

it’s incredible how rubbing our hands together, 

much like the fireboard and the spindle, 

can start a fire 

it’s incredible how enough friction between 

your positionality and your oppression 

can ignite a deep passion for justice 

The justice of our peoples, 

our communities 

our nations 

the Earth 

are like threads of a tapestry 

inherently tied into each other

and divided even if one piece frays

I was born with a longing 

to be


for belonging 

like roots belong under a tree

there’s no question about it

no imposter syndrome

just flowing with the tide

like ocean water kissing a sandy shore 

The Earth carries with her memories 

seeped into our DNA

imprinted on our hands and feet

reflected in the skies above us

I think of how much we have erased and ignored 

I realize that 

remembering is the most defiant act of vengeance 

remembering how cold this land is 

remembering how this land is now hidden under layers of snow

waiting in stillness for warmer days

Letter #1: Turtle Island: Guilty of Colonization by Association

Dear Turtle Island,

I am writing to let you know that 

I’m sorry your heart is broken

I’m sorry you have no say in the matters

which deeply affect your longevity

I always thought the Earth was a vast place

after all, I came from an incredibly small nation

until I lived here, I assumed white people were the standard 

little did I know that they aren’t even the majority 

Dear Turtle Island,

I have not known you for very long

I have never experienced nature’s harsh cold

until my feet met your snow

While making snow angels 

I avoided socks for as long as I could 

but here, my feet can’t stand on their own

and here, my body’s heat is not enough

not as strong as the flames ignited within me

to further understand my relationship with this land 

one that I am trespassing on by virtue of 

living under patriarchal capitalism 

Come to ‘Canada,’ they said

It’ll be a better life, they said

I’m here, and so far, I’m not impressed

I catch myself feeling sorry for people 

who have to leave their nation to go on a vacation

or to experience ripe fruit all year round

After all, I am just

a creature of love

of habit 

of compassion

After all, I am just

tired of running 

tired of moving 

tired of hoping 

for better 

Letter 2: Malaysia: An Ode to Land Lineages and Memories

Dear Malaysia,

My mind wanders back to the ranch 

North of the Peninsular

where two generations of my maternal roots lie

acres of land spilling over with bountiful fruit

the taste of fresh coconut water and its flesh off the land

freshly fallen durian cracked open

between crossed legs on newspaper on the ground

The inside reflected its old age and character

reminding me of simpler times

knuckles rubbing between clothes and soap on bathroom floors

reading beautiful pages on the swing set with ammachi

Years later, the same land that has fed us for generations 

has been maintained 

technology and electricity have now improved it

yet it remains our family’s nucleus 

our roots overlapping under the ground

In this moment, hope swells up my heart

and reminds me: this could be us

a beautiful paradox of the preserved and the improved

Dear Malaysia, 

Whatever caucasity inspired the exploitation

of lands, histories and cultures

believed the rich legacies etched into our veins and 

exhaled out of our mouths in sacred tongues

were nothing more than theirs for the taking 

As they toiled the grounds our ancestors fed on,

their efforts sought to choke our roots

to eradicate our lineages 

the dirty trick of privilege

convinces them it is a lack of our power

instead of an assumption of their dominance 

they tried to bury us, cover us up, build skyscrapers over us

but we were seeds, whispering our growth beneath the Earth

undercurrent waters quench our thirst

as we grow, growing stronger with every drop

learning the vertical curves of the buildings on top of us

Generation after generation

we extend our branches higher and higher

as close to the sun as they would allow 

let them see us in all our glory, grounded

for this land has always been ours- rather, we belong to it

Letter 3: Tamil Naddu, South India: Do You Remember Us?

Dear Tamil Naddu,

I don’t even know if you’d want to hear from me

After all, we don’t speak the same language 

You might remember my grandmother, who was born on your soil

Or maybe not; she had to uproot and move to South Africa at some point

Do you remember? 

I don’t, but I sorely wish I do

I don’t know how to stake claim of any connection to this land 

when my roots have been planted in Malaysian soil 

for three generations

three generations of family members

three generations of remembering

three generations of forgetting slowly

that which we came from

So maybe I’ll share my grievings with you instead

Dear Tamil Naddu,

Among the Tamil people I’ve met in my home country

I never felt enough

I guess I don’t have much of a say

when my own kind have decided I am better than them 

before ever speaking to me

I guess all is assumed fair when you’re dipped in light skin

in a fair and lovely world

I can’t blame them in all honesty

because to ever assume such a thing of me before even speaking to me

meant that they were first assumed as less than before even recognizing 

the depth of the melanin dancing in their skin compared to mine 

I remember Tamil people identifying me as a South Indian 

just by looking at my skin

and as a Christian, just by looking at the way, I dressed

I remember thinking even they remember for me

and yet I don’t

But do you remember?

How do I grieve that which I don’t know? 

I ask myself this question until I remember that

grief is a memory being felt, within or outside the limitations

 of one’s physical presence 

and I feel so strongly connected to you

Dear Tamil Naddu,

Grief is all I have of you, of the ones who came before me

I feel my ancestors in my veins

every time I am reminded of the anxiety, the shame

of childhood, of womanhood

every time I am reminded that I am chosen

to break these generational curses

and to embrace the generational blessings

healing generational trauma is not for the weak 

so while my feet may have wandered off your soil

my soul knows its path only started here

Sincerely, the cycle breaker chosen for this lineage