Big Write 2016 Winners - Adults

by Katherine Chapa Martinez
A gusano is what I am here.
As a child, this is what I hear.
I am a worm,
And Castro wants to see us burn and squirm.
An outcast is what I am here,
A click of a lock is what I hear.
I am homeless,
And men in green have taken our house and key - it's hopeless.
An alien is what I am here,
Jibberish is what I hear,
I am a refugee,
And now we're lost in America, searching endlessly, for refuge.
A Cuban is what I am here,
"You're in America! Speak English!" Is what I hear.
I am an illiterate.
And classmates stare and speak behind by back - I am different.
An American is what I am here,
"Where are you from?" Is what I hear.
I am a U.S. citizen,
And that is all you need to know about me.

 by Ellyane Palmenteri
 Escaping or seeking,
 Going from, or coming to,
 I came.
 To a land,
 known from TV sitcoms,
 glossy magazines,
 and epic movies.
 But when I arrived,
 it was not funny,
 or glossy,
 or epic.
 It was cold,
 and flat,
 and when people said,
 "Have a nice day," or,
 "You're welcome,"
 they sometimes sounded,
 and flat.
 Then my boys were born,
 that made this country mine.
 When I said the pledge of allegiance,
 on the day I became an American,
 on paper,
 and when I twisted the plastic dial,
 and my vote was counted,
 that cemented,
 what was in my heart,
 I was home.

Wings of Migration
 by Rani Ramasamy
 I migrated,
 From the land my shell first cracked open,
 From the land I breathed the first air,
 From the land which blew life into me.
 I migrated,
 As the seasons had come to make a long flight; soaring into the sky as blue as the deepest sea,
 As I have to start my first-ever journey; leaving behind my homeland,
 As I was looking forward to reach the land of opportunities; with lingering questions within me.
 I migrated,
 I spread my wings of independence; with an aching heart,
 I spread my wings of freedom; with a confused mind,
 I spread my wings of equal justice; with teary eyes.
 I migrated,
 My eyes laid on the land as vast as the horizon,
 My heart danced with the movement of different species of wildflowers in the meadow,
 My ears heard the songs of other birds; singing softly welcoming me with joy and peace.
 I migrated,
 Wind of culture blew directly on me strongly; it gave a culture shock,
 Fear of uncertainty followed me surely; it let go my security,
 String of loneliness tangled my heart; it suffocated my happiness.
 I migrated,
 Slowly I moved my feather; embracing the wind of culture to teach me differences in life,
 Slowly I moved my feather; embracing the fear of uncertainty to teach me everything is worth a try,
 Slowly I moved my feather; embracing the string of loneliness to teach me how to love another soul.
 I migrated,
 And I am here; as a new me.