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What Comes After the Third Year

Imprinted on Our Identities
By David Rojas, Grade 10
What Comes After the Third Year

Grade 10 Language and Literature students completed these pieces as part of their unit about "Decolonizing Language" to uncover the emotion and values conveyed in our words. Students wrote about their multilingual identities, the family values shared across dinner tables, and their inspiration to find their own definition of gender or success. The poems shared in this series explored their experiences as multi-locals whose many moves have imprinted on their identities. 

What Comes After the Third Year

And once again, he’ll foster some fellow feelings
Between his new walls and no new missed calls
He’ll extend the invite to his new sheets and his new shelf
And so they’ll try to adapt to him

He’ll enter the museum of memory
Hazy from the engine exhaust
He’ll hear laughter fill the corners
And surprise birthdays scattered across

He’ll see a familiar face in a painting
A face like a lotus flower, but so exhausted
Their indifferent eyes cast a wishful stare
He knows just the feeling

Don’t speak
Don’t share
Don’t speak
Don’t share
Don’t speak
Don’t share

He’ll attend the opening of the new exhibit
of a September remote island
A three-minute conversation holds a frail string intact
Linking the island to the fading June mainland

They’ll have their scissors poised
Lunging for the string
But he knows they don’t mean it
Shooing, the string fights hard to remain intact
Calling out his name for assistance
But he knows it won’t make a difference

Don’t speak
Don’t share
Don’t speak
Don’t share
Don’t speak
Don’t share

The museum stands abandoned
But he visits every day
The windows are still so inviting
The others find something new, better
And so they let it all be forgotten
He shifts in his sheets
Getting acquainted with the ninth new pillowcase of cotton

And when he halts on the tarmac
He makes a plan
He won’t speak, he won’t share
Because he knows in three years' time
He’ll stuff his life into the corner of his suitcase
And they’ll sharpen their scissors once again
Because he knows what comes after the third year
He knows how this ends


David Rojas is a Grade 10 student who has lived in six countries on three continents and has moved a total of nine times. He has studied six languages at seven different schools. After having resided in Armenia, Canada, Ecuador, the United States, and Uruguay, David calls Finland his current home. 

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