why i must keep moving and thinking and seeing

after danez smith
i was birthed on time; because i lived in a land of fight, of burnt temples, of street food sizzle, of numbers, of flower language; because i never crawled, i just got up and walked one day; because some feet touched cool earth but kept going; because i see bravery there, communion there, memory there; because i was cradled in colorful arms, raised in humid truths, surrounded by unconditional love; because everyone i always knew is there; because that is when i remember joy, abandon, growing; because i am afraid of forgetting; because i still left; because i am here now, lost but found, stolen but treasured, torn but dual; because i do not have anyone to tell my stories; because i have been reborn; because i live in a space of blanks, of revolution, of multitude, of borrowed things, of hurt; because i am always running; because my feet feel different on this new earth; because i see difference here, religion here, experiment here; because i was taught to settle like oil in clean water, convinced to paint my skin like white canvas, comforted by death and lonely; because i have come to know no one; because this is when i remember nothing; because i want a place where fear is not spilled on the sidewalks like blood, where guns are not synonyms for people, where freedom is more than just a statue; because i want a place to love my daughter, to heal my son, to protect my father, to understand my mom; because i want to live; because i know i can; because i still think of home; because home is in many places; because i ache to go back like addicts need their fix, like books need spine, like heroes need time; because i go but i always come back; because i want this for everyone; because i wrote this for everyone; because we are all

Lagnajita Mukhopadhyay is one of the five finalists for America's National Youth Poet Laureate, in which she recently got invited to the White House to meet Michelle Obama. She is also named as Southeast Regional Youth Poet Laureate in 2016. In her role as the Nashville’s First Youth Poet Laureate in 2015, Mukhopadyay has read original work at the City Council, Mayor Karl Dean’s State of Metro address, Nashville Public Library StudioNPL opening, MyCity Academy Graduation, TEDxNashville CREO Salon, and Mayor Megan Barry’s inauguration. In addition to publishing her book (published by The Penmanship Books, New York, USA), this is our war, Lagnajita was also published in Nashville Arts Magazine, The Tennessean, Chapter 16, and on the Poetry Society of America website.