I don’t remember my birth in Haiti.
I can’t picture the poor slum,
it’s dirt grounds, rubble buildings, and cluttered trash.
I do know that my birth mother lived in Cite Soleil.
I’ve been told that she loved me,
wanted the best for me,
and couldn’t care for me.
I believe she’s a part of me, just hidden,
inside my heart and part of my faded memories,
stored, locked, and kept away for no one to see, not even me.
I’ve lived in two different orphanages,
I was malnourished, my belly aching for food.
I've known true hunger before,
being unable to function.
Among many other Haitians,
I've lived in poverty,
been surrounded by flies, heat,
and the thick, moist air.
Don’t ask me what it’s like.
I won't be able to tell you.
If I could, I would . . .
but I don’t remember.
I have seen the images,
“That little Haitian girl” is me.
I have no memories,
Just knowledge gained by books,
my mom, and my feelings.
I was a Haitian child,
Lived there for four years.
I had a language, Creole, not French.
I was Haitian. . .
My life uncertain, unmoving, and still.
Now, I am Haitian, a forgotten Haitian.
I don’t remember being in a plane and coming to America.
At only the age of four, leaving familiarity,
Arriving to the unknown.
Now I live in Santa Barbara,
Surrounded by protective mountains,
and the steady ocean.
I know who my mom is,
What she looks like,
and I always feel the closeness.
I know she loves me,
she wants the best for me,
can and always will love, care and be there for me.
I know she’s a part of me.
I’ve gone to school,
Played basketball, volleyball, soccer, ran track.
I’ve been in plays and sang in choir.
I can play the piano, I can dance,
I can sing.
I have experienced so much.
I know who I am.
If you ask me what I do
I will be able to tell you.
I have many memories,
making more every day.
I gain new knowledge from those around me,
I’ve been an American for 13 years.
I have a language, English, not Creole.
I am Haitian-American.
My life now certain, moving, always changing.
Now I’m Haitian-American
I don’t have to remember to
work hard, never quit,
give everything my 110% effort.
There is no other alternative,
For me, I have to be resilient,
stay kind, and positive.
I am a proud Haitian-American,
Given to me is the present of life,
freedom and opportunity.
I know who I am, what I want to do,
and who I can become.
I have amazing abilities,
and all my dreams are,