A Home For All

My skin is like the beige sand

On the Pacific shore

My eyes are like the umber trunks

Of the Redwoods

My smile is like the white threaded stars

On the American Flag


But what I appear as

Is not as powerful

Than the meaning I give

To a life established

By those before me


My Great-Grandfather was an immigrant

A tall, broad man

With a kind smile and a hardened stare

He arrived on boat as many did

And with dirt under his nails

And beads of perspiration down on his back

He worked for a home in the land of opportunity


My Grandfather was an immigrant

With dreams of making something of himself

For his family, for his home, for his land

And with a vest like a tiger’s fur

And a hat like a canary’s feathers

He paved the roads we now tread


My Great-Grandmother was an immigrant

A mom of four who waited decades

For the land of opportunity to beckon her forth

And when it did she became

A Grandmother and a Great-Grandmother

With a home and smile too warm to tell

That it was in a land she hardly knew


My Grandmother was an immigrant

With a universal education

And she taught children

With flesh of varying shades

That how you speak

How you look

Or how your name is spelled

Will only matter to people who cannot learn

That being different can be a blessing


I am not an immigrant

But I might as well have been

For I have been given

Looks of scorn

Words of terror

And dismantled hopes

Because the color of my skin

Is not as pale as some would want


But I am a dreamer

With hands that pen forgotten script

And empower the minds of those in need

A poet, a storyteller,  an actor

A brown girl born

In the land of the red, white, and blue


We were once the land of opportunity

The destination for a better life

But the American dream didn’t have a color

There are just those who think it does


But let me say what I believe

That this land that came to be

From the very people who weren’t born in it

Is now a land with roads and bridges

Educated adults

Hearts of kindness and of hope

And of people who read my stories


Thus far

I’ve only spoken

Of one family


Immigrants and a child born of them

Have come to make this land what it’s always been

A place where people come from far away

And find a way to make their home


I am an American

Born with Indian blood

But I will tell you that I am neither

If you dare to ask me what I am

Because what I appear as

Is not as powerful

Than the meaning I give

To a life established

By those before me


So should you ask, “What are you?”

I will utter just one word



-Kiran Bains Sahota


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