By Ivi Hua
10th grade, Mead High School, WA

With lines from "Colonias and the American Dream Are One and the Same for Residents" by Carolina Cuellar, a Pulitzer Center reporting project

call me    your garden  of prosperity.
      this                fickle
               paradise,     a      harvested
blight.  these    men,   lulled into
       floodland.            a season of citrus,
                  a swell    of warmth.  oh,

  how   the     climate
       shifts. a swarm.        a plague.     in the
           wake  of       the war,  a series
   of freezes.     this soil  in ruins.
             an abandonment.

           sell  me  into          your    dream.
  take your    piecemeal  prices,
       off    subdivision.     working  class
 immigrants   &         quarter acres,
     chasing  ascension. 

listen.   you can't build        a house
     without        the    land.    this  image,
  the   mirage.   splintered  earth
made divine.         resilience &  ingenuity.
    the   possibility
   of this land          is   the    magic.

 American,     the    people   need
               of hope.    buildings
   will rise.       labor  fruiting  &
still,   their  structures  raw.   unfettered.
   this  unity       the most
                    beautiful  thing.     borders
broken,    ascension
      of the  crushed.

American,   you bleeding   red,
    the    sky  
           blue  &        white,
   show  us     your   humanity.     bend,
     but do   not break.

soil  beneath your  feet.   a     home
        in your hands.     dream.
  we become       the dreamt.

Ivi Hua is an Asian-American writer, dreamer, and poet. A Best of the Net nominee, her work is published or forthcoming in Juven, Polyphony Lit, and the Aurora Journal among others. She is the co-founder of Young Poets Workshops, an international community of poets. You can find her @livia.writes.stories on Instagram. She seeks to tell stories and communicate essential and unique aspects of humanity through writing.

Read more winning entries from the 2023 Fighting Words Poetry Contest.