POET: Muna Abdulahi
PIECE:The Unwritten Letter from my Immigrant Parent
Race and Ethnicity
An immigrant’s experience to motivate the next generation

Key Lines/Phrases

Key Line/Phrase

“the American dream was never meant for me 
It was always, always meant for you”

Muna Abdulahi reads a letter from her mother, reminding her of the sacrifices that immigrants make for their families and the “first generation.” While the tone is stern and at some points somber, the poem offers encouragement and a connection to her mother’s language and culture.

Full Transcript of Poem

My daughter
When you came up to me at five years old
and told me you wanted to be just like me when you grew up
Parents are usually filled with joy
But me
My heart dropped to the floor because I wasn’t my daughter
I couldn’t bear to tell you at five years old I wasn’t you
Are too young and to spoiled to understand
My daughter I pray to god everyday you don’t understand what it’s like to be me
How it feels to work endless hours day in and day out
and still have time to spend endless nights trying to know a language
that doesn’t even know how to pronounce you correctly
That tells you to go back to a country many die to escape from
My daughter I did not bring you here to be anything like me
You see the reason I push you to be a lawyer or a doctor isn’t because of the money
it was never about the money
It is because we live in a system that expects nothing but less from you
so in this household I expect everything but less from you
My daughter
You are called first generation for a reason
It is because the American dream was never meant for me
It was always, always meant for you
So my daughter take my culture and our native tongue
and speak, learn, jump, fail, fall, speak, learn, jump, fail, fall, and get back up, my daughter
The best of me lives in you
So speak

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