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VPR's coverage of arts and culture in the region.

Young Writers Project: 'Parts Of War'

Alison Redlich Photography
Alexandra Contreras-Montesano, 16, a sophomore at Burlington High School, writes in response to President Trump halting refugees and citizens of seven countries from entering the U.S.

i.  Fear


Finding people surprised them.

Spanish ships and the promise of gold had brought them here.

“They don’t look like us,”

their guns whispered as they spit bullets.

“They don’t act like us,”

their blood sang as it rushed to their heads.

ii. Hate


He could still smell the smoke and fire

when he turned on the news.


“They don’t look like us.”

“They don’t act like us,”

the television whispered.

“I hate you!” his son yelled at a random girl in a hijab the next day.

iii. Isolation


The scratch of the president’s pen tore into 218 million lives.

The air whistled inside planes as they turned back.

“They don’t look like us.”

“They don’t act like us.”

“I hate you!”

whispered the airport speakers.

A selfish orange man goes onstage

“Us before them,” he rages.

iv. Anger


The sound of burning Qur’ans filled the sky.

The American soldiers curled their fists and threw more books in.

A fire raged, ignited by their hate.

Afghanis demanded justice, the soldiers demanded that this was revenge.

“They don’t look like us.”

“They don’t act like us.”

“I hate you!”

“Us before them,”

their fires whispered.

“Our temper is your fault,”

the newspaper stated.

v.  Loss


Bombs are the paintbrush

and Syria is the canvas of choice.

Soot and blood is a terrifying paint.

“They don’t look like us.”

“They don’t act like us.”

“I hate you!”

“Us before them.”

“Our temper is your fault,”

the tears upon the children’s cheeks whisper.

“Are we equal now?”

the mother asks as she meets them after shrapnel breaks her heart.

“Are we equal now?”

the little boy yells at the bomb as his mother’s eyes close.

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