Poetry Festival will be held:

Saturday, April 27, 2024

2020 Winner

A Father

No matter how much I tell myself

“I was better off without him,”

A part of me hopes that isn’t true,

That if he stayed I’d have him and

No one else would.


If he stayed,

My sweet crazy mother would not have to

Sacrifice and endure so much

If he stayed,

My brother would’ve had a better example

Of the man he should become

That if he stayed,

I would have had someone capable of protecting me,

Someone to teach me my worth,

To help me through all of my insecurities

And shield me from this

Dangerous yet beautiful world.

I’d have a warm hand, larger than my own,

To guide me.


But instead,

I had a father who was

Locked in a prison cell.

Dressed in a blue jumpsuit,

Covered in tattoos,

Who was part of many dangerous

Criminal gangs,

And an illegal immigrant from

El Salvador.


It wasn’t till my mother told me

He was being deported

That I grasped the full situation.


As I leaned over the back of our couch

Listening to my mom talking as she stood with her phone

In her right hand,

I realized at 8 years old, as a small petite child, I had

Lost my father.

I would never see him again, I’d never share snacks with him from the vending machine,

I’d never sit on his lap again,

He’d never listen to us ramble on for hours,

But the hardest thing I realized was,

He would live his life without us.

We would live our lives without him.


The last thing he told me was that he was proud of

My brother and I,

He wished my brother congratulations on graduating from high school,

And we haven’t texted or spoken since.

The thing is, if he’d stayed,

My mother would have had to endure much more,

My brother

would have had a terrible example of a man,

And me,

Well, I hope he’s holding my new little sister the way

I wished he held me,

Because I’m no longer his baby.


Miajah Spriggs

Benjamin Banneker Academic HS

Grade: 10


Washington, DC



Favorite Author or Book:

My favorite author is Marie Lu, her stories are always filled with adventures and well written.

Dream for the Future:

To be at peace and happy

Inspirational Figure:

It would be my mother; after everything we’ve been through, she always kept her head up and got us through the toughest situations.