Author: David Gomez, 8th Grade
Fast like a waterfall hitting the group of rocks,
Fast, wishing to be superluminal.
My feet repeatedly hitting the ground,
I stop until it hurts.
I can’t take it,
My heart feeling like it’s been shot.
I stop at the sidewalk,
Behind a church,
A volcano of tears erupt from my face,
My knees hit the dry concrete,
Taking me with it,
Why must I be alive?
Why do people group people to one thing?
Am I defined by what other people did?
Or, am I defined by my actions?
God, did you create me to find no home,
To be bullied and tortured at school,
To be called a terrorist,
My thoughts rush to me like a pack of wolves,
Threatening to tear me to pieces,
Emotions well up inside me,
Putting venom in my head,
I let them.
My life is meaningless,
Memories of only living in refugee camps in Turkey,
Eating or drinking twice a day,
People dying of illnesses and incurable diseases,
Families separated mourning their loss,
Witnessing murder, domestic abuse, rape
Have I not suffered already,
Have I not been through hell and back,
They pick on me calling me Osama’s daughter,
Telling me that they’ll slaughter my family,
Telling me I am more worthless than a stray dog,
I want to disappear,
I wish I was dead.
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.