I’m not a foreigner By Sankara Olama-Yai

I’m not a foreigner

I am no longer who I was before you told me
I was a shadow
I’ve become a foreigner to myself, ever since
you fed off my roots

I immigrated from the despair you created
into the lie built from nothing

my mouth carries
a tongue starving to know itself
hungry for the erasure of origins.
The concept of assimilation
comes to mind
when asked why I no longer
speak in the same voice as my mother
and her mothers before her.

War wounds drained
the blood of my forefathers,
tainted my native body, and I was left with
these imperial sounds I let slip with bitter eloquence
from a tongue that betrays its allegiance
with every syllable

now your words fit me more comfortably
than dialects I no longer hold
memories of. They were too light not to
evaporate when my body was finished being colonized
My boiling blood escaping
into strands of incense smoke taking the shape
of lost ancestors

I beg on my knees for their forgiveness

By Sankara Olama-Yai


Sankara is an LGBTQ+, African American student who currently studies at Penn State. They are a reader for Frontier poetry. Poems have previously been published by Weasel press, InSpiritry and Military Review, they have had work accepted by 805 lit won three Scholastic Art&Writing awards for his poetry. Sankara is in the process of publishing their first two poetry books with Vital Narrative Press.



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