Honorable Mention – 2023 Beverly Hopkins Contest for High School Students

Xi Herculis

Clayton High School

“Angels glide in this country: believe me! You need
boots: the airport is far. I don’t think you
can walk that far. Mama will swaddle you like a little deer. We’re leaving at
dusk. America! You know the bald
eagle? And the dreams Ma has? If the airport’s
far, imagine going to the other side of the world! There’s going to be
guitars we’ll play and fine clothes made of silk,
gossamer-thin. It will be heaven.” I
hummed. “America is diverse. And
I want to eat those peanut butter and
jelly sandwiches.”

        “Kids aren’t that friendly. So
        let’s ask Mama for some new clothes next time!
        Mama will find some. We’ll ask for new food too.
        Nobody will pick at us anymore.

One day, Mama will become a doctor again.
People will come to our clinic again. We won’t have to be all
quiet, standing with our Ma in the restaurant! Or translating the
recipes into English. We should work hard
so that we don’t devalue our luck. I think
that we should be more happy, about
us living here.” I had a vast
vision. I wanted us to look up.

        “We’ll look at constellations and try to find
        Xi Herculis.” We were so
        young. We wanted to
        zigzag around the world.