Photo by Caleb Woods on Unsplash

I am who I am
Not who I was
Loved by many
Cared for by few
I lost so much love
so I say this to you

I was three days old
With a brain damaged so bad
I was incubator bound
No mom and no dad

I grew up very quiet
Afraid to speak up
I didn’t agree
No, so I just shut up

I was touched as a baby
So sick, now they say
back then, though
The culture
Turned and looked away

At 5 I was molested
Every day of the week
Someone else came at 7
Took virginity from me

I ran to the streets
When I was 13
Had gotten expelled
For being honest about me

I’m gay, I admitted
I told the truth
so because I was honest
I was kicked out of school

Found my way to a girl
Who took me in
For the first time was loved
But was having a kid

over 7 months later
I was about to pop
But my baby daddy was a rapist
And mom said NO — STOP

Gave me a pill
That stole my sons life
The day he was killed
It cut me like knives

Bravery Airik-Marii would have
Been 15 this next year
Instead I’m in prison
And he ain’t been here

I killed my mother
I admit it was not fair
I really did love her

I grew up in juvie
Was beat in youth authority
Went to mental health systems
Grew up after this story

Now I am working
Every day as I go
To be the best I can
But don’t do it for show

I don’t talk about
What I do
I just go day to day
Be good to me and to you

To be the role model
I needed back then
Pray for my mom
and my birth mom, both of them

I pray for my friends
Who died in a broken system
Suicide and pain
Was so hard brought wisdom

I learned from their losses
To just be myself
And now I’m an author
With degrees on my shelf

I want me a future
One of calm truth
To be happy and healthy
No longer abused

No longer feared
To be kind and find love
I sing this, I cheer
So pray for me up above!

You are my reader
My friend and confidante
So go be a leader
And learn from this song!

Disclaimer: The views in this article are those of the author. Prison Journalism Project has verified the writer’s identity and basic facts such as the names of institutions mentioned.

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Heather D'Aoust

Heather D’Aoust is a writer incarcerated in California. She also publishes under the name Jeff-Free and uses the pronouns they/them.