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May 2019
I hope you know that this is foreign land.
I hope you know that when the men and women of home told me,
“You are a fool to dream”, I grew to despise their voices.
That when they told me travel was ludicrous, black was sin, and I a devil because I was a 12 year old autistic child,
I grew to despise their land.
It was not my land, I’d say. It was theirs. It was their rotting green, their putrid sand, La Isla Del Encanto.

I hope you know that this is foreign land.
I hope you know that when I left the Island, I left that house.
It was all I knew; the house, el pueblo. The men who saw me with hungry eyes. The moriviví sprouting from the wood. The church whose women scorned me.
The grave my father slept in.

I hope you know it was a terrible thing, the bone thrown at me, the thing I had to eat because nobody knew to give me meat.
Marrow. The only love I’ve ever known.

You must know. This is foreign land.
This place you call free, this place with flag blood-stained and heavy.
This place I cannot seem to breathe in, where I cannot sit without first buying coffee even if my voice cannot come out, where my head is wanted because my mind is a darkened white, my skin is muddied by race, my eyes are black, black like your wood deer and owl– and I hear the voices of the men and women from home who learned from the white man to say— black is sin.
My skin was made to be loved by the sun, my nails were grown from the bark of the tree en los montes. I am carved from the stories my teacher told me of los Taínos, and slashed with the lesson that Cristobal Colón was a man to be celebrated.

I hope you know your land is foreign.
I hope you know your flag is bloodied.
I hope you know that when I stand on your soil, my body knows

it is not free.
Written by
Dante  27/Non-binary/Connecticut
   Bogdan Dragos
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