I Am

We got to know the 2017 Scholars at the Stanley Ann Dunham Scholarship Fund’s Award Ceremony last May when they read their I Am poems. They were written before the ceremony under the tutelage of Nikkita Oliver, guest speaker and two-time Seattle Grand Slam Champion. Here are the I Am poems of our 2017 Scholars:

Emily Au – Rainier Beach

I am impatient like a breast milk pump squeezing out its last drop

I am impatient like a car without gas with its alarm mocking me

I am impatient like a nicotine addict after lunch and dinner

I am persistent like the bird droppings on your car in the same spot every morning

I am persistent like those grey hairs popping up that your mother tried to hide

I am persistent like the food residue in between your teeth when you have braces

I am loved like my grandmothers dentures when there’s cake

I am loved like the signs of winter when you’re allergic to spring

I am loved like a mother’s gaze when she sees her daughter walk across that stage

Christine Lee – Mercer Island

I am reliable like a ticking clock, constant and steady.

Like my grandma, prepared with food and always ready.

Like a chilled glass of water, steadily dripping down the throat of a panting runner.

I am hardworking like an ox trudging in the sun.

Like a disciplined ballerina with an uncomfortable skin tight bun.

Like a runner pushing through the last of her run.

I am compassionate like a young mother caring for her kin and feel the pain of everyone everywhere I have been.

Like a warm hug– tender and sweet– filled with love for everyone I meet.