I Want to Go Home

Author: Madison Jones, 8th Grade

I want to go home.
After an exhausting day all I can think about is going back home.
The dust that would come up on the road,
The tangy-sweet smell of the market.
Everything that I loved
Is gone.
I don’t understand how I do it,
But I fall asleep.
Once asleep I dream a horrible dream.
In school there are people everywhere and they laugh at me,
Their voices repeat over and over in my head like in the movies we see here.
So loud.
So many people.
Why are they so loud?
I am jostled around like the dolls we used to play with,
And jabbed at like roadkill the boys used to mess with.
There are people of all colors.
And they all laugh at me,

I begin to cry.
My eyes shedding tears like a waterfall.
In my dream and real life.
This is,
As Americans call it,
They stare at me in my dream as they did when I first came to America.
I shift from foot to foot,
Trying not to seem uncomfortable.

But it is hard.
I do not speak the same language as they speak and I do not look as they do,
And when they talk to me they use long words with a lot of sssssss in it
Like a snake
I yelp
Why are they hissing at me?

I run and run and run
Until my legs feel like lead and they can no longer carry me any further
The land looks like to stretches out forever and ever
Before I finally appear back in my country
Even though it is just a dream
I am back in my little tent with my parents
My 6 siblings
And me
I feel safe for once in this restless night
I smile
Feeling an excruciatingly painful ache begin in my chest
As it spreads my tent and family begins to melt away
I am left all alone
Even in my sleep Kurdistan is where my heart is at
War or no war
I want to go home.

Eighth grade English students at KIPP DC: KEY Academy considered the challenges of fictional and real refugees in their fall unit, centered around a study of the novel Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai. The novel tells the story of a young Vietnamese girl and her family who are forced to flee their home during the fall of Saigon and ultimately begin to build a new life for themselves in Alabama. At the end of the unit, students used their knowledge of free verse poetry to write their own narrative poems that captured the universal refugee experience.

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