Youth Poet Laureate of Allegheny County 2021-2022

Danielle Obisie-Orlu is a Nigerian-American student, actress and poet who grew up in Johannesburg, South Africa. She is a trained public speaker, receiving accolades in speech, drama, and debate. She attends the University of Pittsburgh and is double majoring in International & Area Studies and Political Science, with minors in Sociology and French. She is devoted to fostering environments of intersectional community, belonging, and empowerment. She is passionate about migration, belonging, and international human rights law; partners with ARYSE to empower migrant youth and refugee voices; and is a student leader on her campus. Danielle is the National Youth Poet Laureate Network’s Northeast Regional Runner Up 2022.

Poem for the Expat
by Danielle Obisie-Orlu

my dearest, heart,

I hope you have found your home.
I hope the breeze from the East brushes gently across your cheek
As you rest in the sun-kissed South.

my dearest, heart,

I hope you feel as though you belong.
I hope your carnivorous mind
Hasn’t stopped telling them to eat their hearts out
When they tell you to pick:

“Pick a Language. A Country. A Name. An Identity.”

A Dream
for the future.

A Place
to call home.

my dearest, heart,

I hope you know that your identity is yours
And no one can strip it away.
You might feel lost to every culture you have touched,
But I promise when you gaze within yourself
You will find an imprint of their footsteps.

my dearest, heart,

You do not need to ask permission
To see yourself as more than the sum of your parts.
You are not an outcast.
You are the embodiment of change.

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