I am the second-generation seed
Of the flower my ancestors planted
My grandparents—born and raised in Jamaica—
Traveled to Ellis Island
To nourish a new garden
I don't struggle like they struggled:
Wrestling with looming trees,
Just to see a bit of sunlight,
Tangling their roots into
I struggle differently;
I force myself to blossom before my peak,
Only to display underdeveloped petals.
I strive to prove my heritage
To show that I am black
I fight for my own patch of sunlight,
In a country that judges me:
Kills my brothers in the streets
And demands my allegiance.
I no longer stand
For the pledge.
Every day, I call on the strength
My grandfather must have had:
A flower embedding itself in foreign land,
Overshadowed by the looming trees.
I am the sapling my mother planted
Commanding my roots to stay,
Locked in the unwelcoming, unforgiving soil
Next to weeds that overwhelm me
And flowers trying to steal my light
I curve around the normal path
Between branches and leaves that to hold me back—
The limbs of society.
But I can't stop fighting,
For myself, for my family,
For the ones who will follow.