Skip to main content
13 June 2024

On This Earth We Have No Abiding Home by Laura Jane Lee

Wasafiri is proud to publish the 2023 Queen Mary Wasafiri New Writing Prize shortlisted pieces. These poems, essays, and short stories detail a range of emotions and experiences, produced by promising new writers from all over the globe. This shortlisted poem by Laura Jane Lee depicts the complicated emotions of leaving home.

The 2024 Queen Mary Wasafiri New Writing Prize is open until 1 July 2024. Read the full guidelines and submit your work here.

on this earth we have no abiding home 

for we have not here an abiding city, but we seek after the city which is to come. 

– hebrews 13:14  

and so after everything had come to pass my mother hovered at the doorway and told me to come home often the problem is that these doggone days i have come to hold nothing dear where i landed i am told that i have no leave to remain i tell her in small white shrieks that her house with its whistling new hinges is not my home i think elsewhere the days have begun its descent elsewhere i have looked out of windows and seen a different quadrant of the sky i know the mouth is a wound that my father’s house has many rooms and the one which he has prepared for me has not been lived in for alone being new anywhere in the world is such an astonishing lie but coming home to someone is like the sure sun so sometime after everything had come to pass i filled our bed with oranges and kneeling started from the beginning o placeless world o breath clutching history to the air it takes two to break bread in peacetime two to pray in fistfuls at war so let me rise to bless the yard and water closet the childhood room we coated in white paint on this earth we have no abiding home yet let me praise the leaving for i have known such joy

The 2024 Queen Mary Wasafiri New Writing Prize is open for submissions until 1 July 2024. Submit here.

Feature image by Joanna Kosinska on Unsplash


Laura Jane Lee is a Hong Kong-born, Singapore-based poet. She is a winner of the Sir Roger Newdigate Prize and various international poetry competitions. Her work has been featured in The Straits Times, Tatler Asia, Poetry London, Ambit, QLRS, and the 52nd Poetry International Festival in Rotterdam. Laura Jane also works with the Asia Creative Writing Programme, and is Poetry Editor at SPLOOSH. She is also part of the team. Her most recent pamphlet flinch & air was published with Out-Spoken Press in 2021.
Subscribe to Wasafiri and get benefits such as saving 18% off the cover price.
Sign up
Sign-up to our newsletter and receive all our latest news straight to your inbox.
Follow us on our social media channels to stay in the loop and join in with discussions.
Subscribe Basket