First Day of School



The first day of school for fall of 2020 will bring many uncertainties and gridlocked emotions. For those of us who migrated to the United States from another country as children, we are quite familiar with the ladder. I still remember my first day of school as an immigrant ten year old at Edison Middle in 1986. The challenges were real and the adjustments were brutal. Imagine the double impact of scholars who are new to this country, don't speak English, and trying to adapt to this groundbreaking pandemic way of schooling. I'm working on a project to help schools assist students who find themselves in such bottleneck circumstances. This is poem that is part of the project. Enjoy!


Floated around like a haze of loneliness At Edison Middle School Weaved through dangerous crowds That crowded hallway coliseum

three bouts Three fights

in three different spaces

all in one day.

I felt like an alien among gladiators Unlike the uniform wearing private school I attended in Port Au Prince,

Respect for self, teachers, and parents

Seemed to be on a clearance rack. I was baffled at how students stared at adults

In the eye to converse in tone

Far from humbled,

Which was a death warrant in Haiti.

In this country,

Defiance seems to be a state of normalcy.

First day of school

Introduced me to survival norms and rules

Both in and out of the classroom.

Culture shock

After shock

Tongue tied, language block

Educational gridlocked.


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