Poem

Something-American

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“Go back to your country.”
I will go somewhere
But not because of you
But because I’m tired of existing only in the land
Of the red white and blue

Tis where I took my first breaths
Bellevue born and Brooklyn bred
Since the age of the pristine blue and white coffee cups 

I’ve tracked innocence through aisles of its poor old libraries 
And had the swings on turfs I’ve known to remember my sweet fear
I’ve ravaged through battlefields of the public school
And came out radiating pure fire 
Beneath scar tissue

I’ve shed skin until I was anew
With gentrified streets as my witness
And had the same air of subway cars to welcome me
I’ve waited for the A or the C 
Journeyed Uptown till my Downtown 
Vultures have tried to nip at my skin,
No matter
And I’ve heard the cries of those like me 
Who can be bunched with the foreign invasive species

I’ve seen skies second to none above the clashing concrete
And hoped to go away with the clouds drifting to distance
Seeking shiny stars and full moon for their silence
Only to go back shuffling in the place where birds who won’t soar submit 
To the land’s lure
Feeding off of and fighting 
Over its scraps 
Seeking to be full
Until the land is painted a deepest red, white, and blue

So I will soar
And leave vultures hungry with their nests
Having buried fertile seeds in the land
Imprinting pearls and diamonds in the hearts 
Of no name birds
Until I reach where my wings can rest

Oumou Ly is a poet and writer, hailing from NYC. Her poetry relies on her unique experiences as a Fulani-American and Muslim, and an appreciation for the natural world. She holds a B.A. in English from the City College of New York. She sees writing as a way to remember who she is and help make sense of the world we live in for others. She feels strongly about empathizing with the human experience around the globe. In her free time, she enjoys being a homebody and finding joy in mundane pastimes such as making foods from different cultures. She is grateful to be part of the MYM community.

3 Comments

  1. “Bellevue born and Brooklyn bred“ – the alliteration!!
    “I’ve tracked innocence through aisles of its poor old libraries” – so impactful! such a creative way to talk about childhoods and libraries… this whole piece was a treat to read mashaAllah.

  2. I really appreciate how this piece carries a theme of exhaustion through so many different images. Looking for that place to rest was so on point in the midst of it all

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