Poetry Friday: The Child of a Stranger

Enjoy the poem that won first prize this year in my annual poetry contest for teens between cultures.

the child of a stranger by Wendy, China/USA, age 17

at birth I was offered up to this country, some
innocent and
crawling appeasement
subject to the laws and
dreams of its

but my body holds the lines of your
country and my
unevenly. I cannot melt the borders
into one. I am no melting
pot. these borders are edged with
barbed wire.

I cannot fuse these patches of
redwhiteandblue with
yellowstarsandred. I cannot blend
the statue of liberty and the
great wall into something
monumental. the lakes will not
coalesce together. I cannot move mountains.

were born under a plated sun and
I under the snow. born half a world away,

sew together these borders with
clumsy fingers,

hold my fingers steady.

Photo courtesy of Jeremy via Creative Commons.


Doret said…
Beautiful. My favorite part

"I cannot melt the borders
into one. I am no melting
pot. these borders are edged with
barbed wire."

Congrats Wendy
Anonymous said…
I put a link to this on the bookstore's facebook page and had someone come up to me in the store this evening to tell me how much they loved it.

I've come back to it a few times today to re-read. Fantastic, Wendy.

Bunch of Grapes
MotherReader said…
Amazing! Such talent and wisdom.
page247 said…
This is strong and beautiful. I love the final image.
Ed Spicer said…
I have evaluated a teen writing contest in Allegan for about seven years, maybe eight. This is one exceptional teen poem! Please forward my kudos to this future mega star author.
Semaphore said…
This is an exceptional poem, passionate yet rational, a brilliant work that transcends its subject matter. If Amazon had an order-in-advance for her first book of poetry, I'd already be in line. Beautiful.