The screen always turns on
when I can’t slip into my familiar room
and the smell of good food covers up
the urge for mama to buy the next ticket home.
I am forced to watch different faces I used to know
with his prominent baldness,
her deep smile lines,
and always a pair of dark eyes reminiscent of mine,
slowly become old and
repeat that I should come home.
Out of habit I always
They will forever see
my crying face at the airport,
with braided pigtails,
and an unwillingness to move.
But they don’t remember
hands waving goodbye,
my too tired mama reaching out to grab my hand,
and my older sister by her side,
scared and confused.
They couldn’t have seen
blurry faces letting me go
turning into an orange sunset above the clouds,
into the warmth of mama’s lap,
into waking up in New York City
with colorful people moving at every pace
and infinitely tall buildings.
Lost through the screen is
Doris Chen '19 (BHSEC Queens)
He looks wary,
The cloth around my head
I am attacking him with cotton
Made from the blood, sweat, and tears of my African brothers and sisters
Sold by the tired ladies just trying to make a living on the streets of Jackson Heights
He looks scared,
The Arabic I speak.
I am attacking him with words.
Learned from my crying mother wishing her daughter would learn her mother tongue
Forced upon me by the Saturday classes, where I was the youngest in the class
He glances over to see my phone screen
The music I listen to,
I am attacking him by being American
Playing is a bland song that charted the Top 50 last week
Put on specifically to prove I am just like him.
He shakes his head
The reading I need to finish
Thick, dense pages of difficult comprehension
Put on full display for him to see
He is scared.
Of a young teenager
Just trying to get to school
Scared of me.
On the 7 local train,
Where I have sat next to a man
Who I am scared of.
Anonymous '21 (BHSEC Queens)
Updates Every Sunday