Dhayana Alejandrina

Dhayana Alejandrina is a Dominican writer, poet, and spoken word artist. She started to write at a young age when she lived in the Dominican Republic and continued to after moving to the United States in 2009. Her work explores topics such as growth, love, loss, sexuality, and spirituality. She has taken part in several spoken word events, and had poems featured in the anthology Soul Candy by Writer’s Pocket, the Issue 5 of the international magazine PottedPurple, as well as The Dominican Writers Collective Newsletter for Women’s History Month. She will be publishing her first poetry and prose collection Agridulce in 2021.

Where I Am From—A Memory of My Childhood

Where I’m from the electricity doesn't stay on at night,
families work honorably but still struggle to stay alive,
and the kids used to play outside and not worry about some “likes.”

Where I’m from I used to sleep on a bed where the mosquitos
danced, sang, and the music did not rest.
I saw my dad wake up every morning
to do what others think is for “women only.”

          Cook and clean.
          Learn and teach.
          Wash the dishes.
          Do the laundry and fold it neat.

Where I am from I never had a dish washing machine.
I got my hands wet and soapy to clean.
I didn’t get to play if homework wasn’t complete.
I helped hang the clothes because a nice dryer was a luxury
and electricity was a mystery.

Where I am from I never really saw racism—
but the inequality was alive as many watched through their glass windows.

Where I am from happiness was so easily accomplished
because having nothing almost felt like having it all—
nature, water, home, and laughter
an honest, beautiful way of living. 

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