April 9, 2018
By yene SILVER, South Plainfield, New Jersey
yene SILVER, South Plainfield, New Jersey
6 articles 0 photos 0 comments

We arrive here thirsty.
We wait in lines for
bread and wine,
we pound our cow skin drums
and rise,
and we wear our cotton
shawls like prom gowns.

We sing for the hundreds
and pray for the thousands.
We congregate in back rooms
and adults’ cars for
our own liturgies.

We are the new generation.
We may not speak our mother tongue
but we know enough to understand.
The conversations that were once
in ancient dialect to us are
no longer safe for carrying
the elders’ secrets.

Here we do not
eat our breakfasts
and sing solemnly.
Here, we dine out of
styrofoam takeout boxes
and clap to the beats
of age old melodies.

We laugh until
our cheeks are wet with
tears of joy
and crave our Sundays
like uprooted blossoms
crave soil.
Parting is always the hardest,
isn’t it?

The author's comments:

This is largely inspired by my memories and experiences with growing up going to an Ethiopian Orthodox Church. It’s always been a huge part of my life, and the people there are the only reason why I have not lost my culture. This poem is based on my experiences and memories of my church, and is my interpretation of today’s Ethiopian-American teenagers and youth.

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