Daniel B.

Country: Eritrea
Language(s): English

Co-winner of the 2019 #DignityNotDetention Detainee Prize

judged by Ilya Kaminsky


Untitled (Am I an Immigrant)

Am I an immigrant or someone seeking justice

Am I an immigrant or a criminal

I’m confused please let me know judge

I asked for refuge as a refugee

But was met with prison like a criminal


What is the point of this

I can’t find the room to all of it

I am a refugee seeking justice

I have plenty of Fear


What pushed me to leave my home country

I have many many  reasons

But now I don’t want to mourn  , and I don’t want to get too stressed

I think I’ve already had enough abuse to bear from the past


I sometimes think about my circumstances again and again

And I really don’t have anyone sticking up for my rights

My words are my witness , explaining my feelings

All I desire is for to be granted a refuge

So I can have a peace of happiness in my life


So I can find my path and sort out my life

And so I can light a candle to light my life

translated by Daniella Kim


Notes from the judge, Ilya Kaminsky
An honest voice, set to music, touches the heart. I admired the use of incantation in this poem, as well as its use of symbolism; the elegant simplicity of a letter from one person to the world.

About the poet
Daniel B. comes from Eritrea and is presently detained at Otay Mesa Detention Center.