Poem for English 1L

Inspired by Langston Hughes’ Theme for English B

“Kate? She’s American.”
“Kate? She’s Christian.”
Neither of these are wrong.
They aren’t the only things that are right.
It’s strange.
That we have inconclusive thoughts
Of who we are.
Yet others seem to know already.

Those assumptions are made.
Not by ourselves.
By outsiders, strangers.
Who are quick to judge and label.
“Christian.”
I can’t lie; I wear my beliefs.
They are different.
Like any other, I have opinions.

And still;

You painted on my face
The Christian Cross
By the blood of those who
Were persecuted for their beliefs.
Thorns.
Weaved as a wreath on my head built
By the secrets
That you whisper about my faith.

Next, the dominant brand:
“American.”
Ignore or embrace this,
It’s a way to stand out or be
Detached.
My image of myself twists. Warps.
Born in Belfast.
Not American. Irish – British.

But still;

Like the American
Flag, in itself
Is sewn, Equality
And Liberty.
I am cloaked in this flag.
It is freeing.
In your eyes: confining, isolating.

My family is not
American.
We lived 2 years in Boston.
I caught an accent, that often
Stands out.
But I am not “American.”
Yet it has a
Place in my heart and that love still shows.

And so;

I become conflicted.
America.
It is a part of me,
As it will be a part of you.
That’s human.
Heritage should not define me.
Nor should it you.
It’s our passions, fires that describe us.

And still;

Isn’t it those labels
-That when we die-
It is not our own thoughts,
That are what we’re remembered by?
1 death
Every second. But those people
And their lives don’t
Affect ours and yet they did others.

Isn’t our only wish
To be remembered,
To make a footprint on
This earth that is slowly fading?
And will
We owe it to those judges, those
Strangers – because
It’s those labels we’re remembered by?

At least, as far as I can tell.

This is my poem for English 1L.

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