How We May Appear

When someone says, “what do you want to be when you grow up?”

I answer, “alive.”

When I am asked to fight for my rights

I do not hesitate to fight for who

I Identify to be.

I identify as me.

Beautiful, bold, courageous, kind-hearted human, strong woman

The rights I fight for every day

Whether it’s the color of my skin or whether I carry female parts

or if I shall consider myself straight or gay

Why does it matter to you?

What I say?

Who I am?

Who are you?

How bout you mind your business

As soon as I walk in a door I’m questioned about who I am

But if he does the same he’s known as “the man.”

I deserve respect and loyalty

‘Cause I give nothing but that

And I share with you the feeling that has been weighing on my back

Heavier than rocks in a sack.

Not violence but words of pain

A lecture of intelligence and tears flowing insane.

The “brown skin girl” the outside world doesn’t observe

Only Beyoncé knows the better we deserve.

So caught up in the dang TV you can’t see me.

So you ask, who am I?

Well pay attention



I’m Kayla

And I didn’t mention

it’s not as simple as it looks.

Being me I’m covered with smiles, laughs, and a goofy “cheeeeese”

refusing to accept failure

refusing to take disrespect

I am the one and only, now come correct.

I am Cape Verdean

(West African and Portuguese)

I am me.

I am the one trying to make it out doing things she loves so she will achieve.

I am the raindrop that didn’t fall in the ocean and lose its identity to the world

I am the girl who heard closed mouths don’t get fed so she said something and got pearls.

So you ask, who am I?

And I reply,

Is there a problem nosey?

There’s a lot that mouths can’t tell

Eyes can’t show

And hands can’t feel.

It’s behind the scenes

‘Cause me

I work for what I want and I don’t fail

But that’s just who I am

Not in a category

More like a they

Not like any other

And I can say that any day

Because me is more than a word

It’s the girl that will be creating the better world your kids will see.

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How We May Appear

“826 Boston’s anthology would make [Phillis Wheatley] proud, as young writers of a beautiful range of colors and backgrounds lift their pens like swords to take up the task of self-discovery.”           —Amanda Gorman, poet and author of the book’s foreword In How We May Appear—the first book from 826 Boston’s Youth Literary Advisory Board (YLAB)—readers will discover more than 30 poems, essays, and narratives on self-identity from students all across Boston.

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