“Freedom Poem” by WITS Student Kai Ogata
October 28, 2022
Freedom tastes like a hearty soup,
Warming the esophagus and stomach,
Potatoes and herbs, soft beef,
Freedom is a sour lemonade,
The sugar sunk to the bottom,
Crunchy ice, that good kind,
Freedom tastes like fro-yo,
Nilla wafers, popping boba,
Gummy bear toppings,
Freedom sounds like laughter,
Not those forced ones, the ones with a friend,
that end up in snorting and wheezing.
Freedom is an apartment building,
Constant murmurs, whispers of conversations,
Footsteps and loud bangs at 3 am,
Freedom sounds like the bus,
Rumbling along the road,
Hitting a pothole, and my head on the window,
Freedom feels like the soft hair on someone’s head,
The fuzz of animal fur, running through my fingers,
Warm in my lap, slowly caressing.
Freedom is the slam of my body on the trampoline,
Up and down, bouncing, that midair stasis,
Wind rushing around and hair floating.
Freedom feels like that itch,
Can only be scratched by another person,
Never satisfied with it, yet they scratch away,
Freedom looks like polaroid photos,
Blurry, fast, energy catching,
Tacked on the wall with fairy lights,
Freedom is the stringed musician,
Arms moving faster than eyes can see,
The intensity and drive snapping chords,
Freedom looks like the sea anemones,
Swaying in the currents, jelly like,
Gripping the coral as fish knock their sides,
Freedom smells as a baked pie does,
On the windowsill still steaming.
Criss cross crust, filling leaking out,
Freedom is the scent of burnt bread,
Blackened outside, rock hard,
Soft fluffy inside, yummy,
Freedom smells like vanilla and coconut,
Face buried in the blankets,
Diffuser changing colors.
Kai Ogata wrote this poem while a student at Franklin High School with WITS Writer-in-Residence Naa Akua. Kai read this poem to open our Poetry Series event for the James Welch Prize Reading on November 3, 2022.