Muna Abdulahi is a Somali-American living in Minneapolis. She describes herself as a poet, activist, student, and teacher. She is the child of a refugee. That family history is at the forefront in the following poem.
The Unwritten Letter from my Immigrant Parent
My daughter When you came up to me at five years old and told me you wanted to be just like me when you grew up Parents are usually filled with joy But me My heart dropped to the floor because I wasn't my daughter I couldn't bear to tell you at five years old I wasn't you Are too young and to spoiled to understand My daughter I pray to god everyday you don't understand what it's like to be me How it feels to work endless hours day in and day out
and still have time to spend endless nights trying to know a language that doesn't even know how to pronounce you correctly That tells you to go back to a country many die to escape from My daughter I did not bring you here to be anything like me You see the reason I push you to be a lawyer or a doctor isn't because of the money it was never about the money It is because we live in a system that expects nothing but less from you so in this household I expect everything but less from you My daughter You are called first generation for a reason
It is because the American dream was never meant for me It was always, always meant for you So my daughter take my culture and our native tongue and speak, learn, jump, fail, fall, speak, learn, jump, fail, fall, and get back up, my daughter The best of me lives in you So speak