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American Dirt -- hybrid by Amani Shroff

My mother wraps our American dream into nice folds and kisses the top like it’s a baby she’s nurtured, on the kitchen counter. My sister plays funny English words again in her mouth, she says words kids told her at school like “eat dirt” but they never make sense. They lean together, giggling like old friends. We will never get the inside joke. My tongue is split into two, my heart shattered every day. I carefully glue it together every night only for it to be chewed up the next morning

by some folk and then spit back onto the ground and laughed at. The pieces land on American dirt, like a lot of our things do and how we sometimes do. In this sweet land of liberty, in this soup of America we are the salt. Needed to survive, ignored, dirt, stepped on. I clench my fists and think of the girls in my class, dishing the dirt on me. They say I will be nothing when I grow up. That I will be buried underground and my dark skin will be unrecognizable and blend in with the dirt around me. Nobody will

remember me.


The moon waxes and wanes, letting waves wash over its cosmic ground.


My mother waters the dirt every night and every morning. She watches our bodies bloat and redden. She picks out the weeds and keeps us in a bowl by the windowsill, overflowing from one side. Sometimes our skin puckers under the sunlight, then she will close the window and draw shade. She watches us bloom from the dirt, slowly and carefully.



 

Amani Shroff is a high school student from California. She enjoys cooking, yoga, and snapping photos with her Canon camera in her free time! Amani is an ardent feminist and writes about the experiences of silenced voices. Her passion for poetry began when she read her first poetry book at seven. She hopes to continue writing poetry for the rest of her life.


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