A poem, inspired by the novel Inside Out & Back Again

During my Literacy class, I had a marvelous opportunity to read an outstanding book I have never heard of. Inside Out & Back Again, by Thannhha Lai, is a verse novel based on the journey of a young little girl, Ha, who fled from her native country to a new country. As an inspiration from what we’ve read, I and my classmates wrote each a gorgeous poem. This poem dedicated from a perspective of a character that went similar life experience as Ha from the novel. Please enjoy reading my poem about this character that has been forced to flee her home country for a safer place. 

Photo from Diacritics.org

Me, sitting under the shadow, 

Of this old world. 


Without any work to do, 

Anyone to play with, 

I ended up here. 


In a quiet place,

Giving me a state of serenity, 

At the same time, with water all of my body. 


Upon the branches, 

The soft voice of the bird is singing, 

Intended to express their bliss. 


Unfortunately, my mouth isn’t singing as the bird

But my stomach does

It is growling 


I am a Kurd, 

Moved from Iran, 

Are what my mom used to tell me, 


I was born to be here in Turkey, 

In a refugee camp, 

To be craved for food, 

To be slumbered in a small tent, 

For nine of us. 


Mom, we are Kurd, and…we are here?

Was what I once asked my mom


Jihan, my little girl

That’s why we need to endure such these

We have nowhere; we have no spot, 

But what we have is an identity, 

To be a Kurd 


A young little girl as me, 

Realize that I have no country, 

Cognize my own self, 

At that juncture. 


Is it faith that I have nowhere, 

To go, 

To breath with contentment, 

To gulp my favorite food. 


Part II


Days passed, we are fortunate, 

When missionaries, 

Sponsor us to come to America. 

Being here is just like being a mouse, 

That has been trapped, 

In this new sphere. 


 Especially with all eyes, 

 Look at me, 

 Assuming with those facial expressions, 

 Of the hijab on my head, 

 That, I am a Muslim. 


I once wish, 

people would ask me questions, 

about my culture life, 

Instead of making 

those hurtful assumptions. 


To these surroundings, 

Sometimes, I don’t speak all day long, 

I keep my mouth locked, 


It’s not because I am miserable

It’s because I don’t know-how. 


I once wish, 

I had known English, 

Before I came here, 

Instead of sitting in a class, 

Without perceiving, 

What people are laughing about. 


Be strong, Be who you are

Words that my whole family, 

Always tell to this girl. 


During school, 

Is an excellent chance, 

For me to be strong, 

For me to make new friends, 

Which I have never had one


Can me sit with you? 

Was my first sentence ever, 

I’ve spoken to my classmates


Umm, yeah 

Was their response


I thought to myself

That not all people, 

Are tough. 

Some were actually humanitarian, 

If you would try. 


At night, 

My family astounded me, 

With my favorite food ever, 

This is the first time, 

Eating my beloved food, 

Without thinking to save for tomorrow’s life. 


I am grateful, 

Of how the journey of my life, 

Used to be, and turned out. 

And proud to be, 

A Muslim, 

A Kurd,

And an American. 

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