“With and Without,” by Tadu Dollarhide
November 27, 2018
With and Without
With my father carrying me to the orphanage home. Without me knowing what was going on. With my cousins wailing in the distance. Without a thought of leaving home. Without a thought of never seeing my family again. With that of a flying thing I never knew existed. With sitting next to a pale woman who smiles at me while I try to find the ground below the fluffy clouds. Without me knowing that this woman was going to be my mother. With me being here for six months before I started school. With me knowing very little English. Without me knowing how to communicate with other kids made it difficult. With me knowing that my mother is always there for me. With me knowing that my neighbors are always there for me. With me knowing I can grow up healthy, educated, and have a nice job. With me missing my father. With me missing Sedama. With me loving this place. With me loving my family.
Tadu Dollarhide wrote this poem as a 6th grader at Blue Heron School, with WITS Writer Samar Abulhassan. Performed at Seattle Arts & Lectures’ SAL Presents event with Pete Souza on November 11, 2018.