Jesse Jackson came into our elementary
school and made us chant: I am somebody.
I try to see myself sitting on the classroom
floor: I. Am. Some. Body. I had a body.
“Some” was a harder concept. Am is soy.
Yo soy alguien. But it wasn’t about who
I was, where I lived. I chanted with the others
and applauded at the end. Then he left, and
we returned to reading aloud. More words.
But not one I. I am. I am somebody. Me.
How amazing, and now I know our school
was one of many visits that day, year, era.
But when young, I thought all the messages
heard were for me: from Jesse, the winds in
backyard trees, the shy light in my bedroom
where I read in English aloud to the walls
and began my work to not be anonymous.
© Rane Arroyo