By: Karoline Gonzalez ~ Student Journalist
As if resentful, an unknown force placed me in my mother’s womb
Where I gave up earlier than most
And with the weight of the world in my chest danced hand in hand with death,
A feeble thing grows up to occupy space and find refuge within barres of thoughts.
I am of the world and of whoever takes me
But my first home are the foreign waters that birth la mas bella Quisqueya
Whose history lies on the shoulders of unafraid men and women
Whose blood was spun into a blanket of freedom wrapped around the astounded gaze of those who constrained our shackles.
I left my roots for unknown soil and colder winds
Where mangoes and limoncillos don’t grow
And soursops and guavas fail to flourish.
Here, the absent palm trees refuse their shade and the sky cries snow instead
As we parted ways, I promised to tell the world of her,
To make stories from her mountains and dunes of green
I wear her proudly in the slips of my tongue and the accent of my words
I am of the mother of all lands as much as I am of the world.
I am music and harmonies and complex bridges
I am morning coffee and afternoon tea
I am the Caribbean’s sun painted proudly on my pearl brown skin
I am my ancestors blood holding onto untamable curls and graceful hips
I am my mother’s daughter but at times feel like my father’s son
Because I’m meant to like boys but find myself lost in the sin of her tongue
Thus, my mind becomes a battleground similar to my parents’ home
Where they scream bible verses that might cure this identity
And my mom’s agonizing cries pierce the sky with tenacity.
I am sitting in the wooden church pews
Listening to the Sunday sermons of a man who claims to speak for God
My mother listens and bows her head, she’s the one who taught me how to pray
But how do I explain to her that her child has been depressed since age ten?
Would it break her heart to know that at times I long to not be awake?
Or would she tell me that is my lack of faith that makes me flawed?
I carry the weight of the dreams of an immigrant family
The responsibility to make unknown faces proud
Never mind mental stability.
I’m made of fears and perseverance and goals
I am wisdom, art, logic and heart
I am lover, sibling, and friend
I am a story untold like the unread books on my shelves
I am someone’s hope and desire for change
I am tender hands, careful words, long stares, hums and nods
I am a challenge, a problem unsolved and at times Pandora’s box.
I am an unfinished poem, a song left untouched, at times abandoned, too foreign.
I belong to myself as much as I belong in your arms,
I belong to no one and all
And I promised myself this wouldn’t be a love song
But I find myself falling in love with everything and everyone who steps through the door
So, I write about me and you and I write of the past
Because I breathe and I exist now, and I dance atop ropes of uncertainty.