Author: Ny’Onnie White, 8th Grade
The “Chug Chug” of the soldiers boots outside my door
The hushed scared whispers inside my parent’s door
“You must go” ………. “You cannot stay”…….”We will be ok”
The only thing that make me feel safe is the cha’i tea my mom makes
The warm sweet smell fills my nose…
I know my father must leave, here in Afghanistan the Taliban has won
Women have no rights, we clean from sunrise to sunset
We don’t go to school, drive, or leave the house without a man present
I feel like a tea bag after you made the tea, cold wet and useless.
My father disobeyed the Taliban government
He was teaching women now he must leave before they take him.
He comes out with a bag on his back
My heart is caught in my throat, tears spill out my eyes like water in a well.
He kisses my cheek – the last kiss I will get from him in a while
I watch him walk away like a leaf blown in the wind
I closed to door sadden, scared, hopeless.
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.