I Wake.

Author: Jahmil Proctor

I wake.
Brush my teeth.
A massive attack
on New York
Just happened yesterday.
They call it 9/11.

I walk through the school.
I suddenly fall as someone tripped me.
I quickly get up as everyone laughs.
I run to my locker, people’s insults
Thrown like a game of toss.

I walk to class as my friend
Attempts to comfort me
Everyone thinks I’m going to
Attack them because I’m Muslim.

Soon Shoved to the ground
They laugh like wild hyenas
I get up and run to the bathroom
Tears fall like raindrops in the spring
The bitter, cold feeling rising.

The memories of us fleeing
Our home, the screaming of
Children, bombs falling like hail
I can only remember so little
I was so young back then.

All of this running
Through my mind as
I remember all the dreadful
things that happened and all the
things I miss.

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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