The Red River flows gently, a part of the landscape that makes up this land,
But within it lie the scars of those who are now lost in the bottom of the river just like the sand.
Tears have filled this river and made it what it is today,
Blood is what got it its name as it flowed along its shores,
The past of a people who were destroyed is what this river bore.
People who were imprisoned within themselves,
They were taught to hate every part of them.
They were like trees, but their roots were destroyed,
And they were used not employed.
They lost every part of them.
The branches had fallen and so did the stories that had been so special to some.
The trunk was chopped away, and families were chewed apart like a piece of gum.
The leaves were crushed, and the pride was drunk happily by the evil like a bottle of rum.
The tree was gone and all that remained were the decayed parts
Deep down in the Red River bumpy forgotten parts in the sand
Just like the people who used to be the owners of this beautiful land.
—from 2017 Rattle Young Poets Anthology
Why do you like to write poetry?
Jana Bataineh: “I started writing three years ago when I won first place in my school poetry competition. I love to write poetry because it is a whole different way a person may express themselves and it opens up the doors of imagination, beauty, and just writing poetry can give you more ideas!”