I am from hair brushes and wide-tooth combs ripping my 4c hair into a perfect line

I am from Aicha’s house next door

to waiting for my turn above the slides at morningside, braving the intimidating stares of kids of all ages 

I am from incense making its way through our home

and the upstairs neighbors call the fire department 

From Bousso and Abi

I’m from lying and scheming hypocrites and perfectionists

I’m from “cuy fe” (come here) and “duma lo co wahat” (I won’t say it again) in a tone signaling a beating is coming

From copies of the Quran scattered all over the house

and lemons to repel the evil in every corner

I am from Ivory Coast and Dakar 

From my siblings being shipped to another country because my parents can’t afford kids

From the drawer in my mom’s room filled with our old certificates and diplomas

I am from the moments of feeling rain seep into my bloodstream,

 listening to my parents voices get louder and louder in the other room

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Youth Voices is an open publishing and social networking platform for youth. The site is organized by teachers with support from the National Writing Project. Opinions expressed by writers are their own.  See more About Youth VoicesTerms of ServicePrivacy Policy.All work on Youth Voices is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License

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