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By Yara Ajeeb March 25, 2021

The Immigrant Experience



The faded scent of jasmine roses

Tails me to dreamland

Beckons me towards

A fragmented place


I step into the pungent aroma of Arabic coffee

Which lingers in the air way after the neighbours have left

The smell of cigarettes fills the space

Between my father and I

Tugging at the ends of the curtains

Traveling back home.


Sundays are freshly baked Ka’ak

Stacked with the smell of gasoline

Father behind the car,

As mother rolls her eyes.


Burnt eggplant has a precious odour

It fills my grandma’s shadow

Blend it with some cheap fruity perfume,

and you’ll taste my mother.

Aftershave is distant from my home,

It sleeps outside.


Flipping through memories,

The plastic smell of pink lipstick

and powdery eyeshadow

smudges my fingers

Activating my womanhood


The back of the classroom

Used to smell like day-old shawarma

Softened with vodka

Apply some trauma in there

And you’ll enter my high school


My books comfort me through movement

Hold my hand as I cross the border

Do you know what a packed airplane smells like?

Crying babies, silent prayers

A melting pot of scents


The subtle trace of maple tress

Reaches for me

As I close the distance

Between my past and present.



You’re here.

About the author

Yara Ajeeb is a third year student in the ALC program.

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