House of Abundance Poetry’s four-year anniversary event fell in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. In absence of the physical gathering of this mighty community, ALL ARTS partnered with House of Abundance Poetry (HOA) and introduced an ongoing series with a single-word prompt for each writer: quarantine.
Collective member Stefanny Andujar is a social worker in a middle school in Brooklyn, New York. She is a proud Dominican immigrant, a loud daughter, a caring sister and a loyal friend. She’s been part of the House of Abundance Poetry community for about a year and a half and is so grateful to have a welcoming and safe space to express herself in all her iterations.
Here is her submission, “Dear Zoe.”
“Dear Zoe,” by Stefanny Andujar
You always said that you were “living the dream!”
whenever I asked you how you were doing. And in
a lot of ways, you simply made life look like a loving dream.
I saw and witnessed how easily you brought a smile to kids
who did not feel loved, and who did not feel understood.
I saw how you swooped in the middle of a student meltdown
and you lovingly got them to change gears and interact in present
and joyful ways.
I saw how much you loved those 8th grade boys who had absent moms
and how they easily considered you a school mom.
I saw how you led the pack of “cool people” and how even adults wanted to
follow you wherever you went because you are, and you were a joyous, authentic and real Queen.
Zoe, I want you to know that I love you and I will never forget the ways that you were kind to me. The ways that you came into my office when you saw that I was down and you checked up on me. The ways that you had my back when other people were in my way. The tender ways that you hugged me when I needed a caring embrace.
Zoe I can’t imagine the hole that you must have left within your family and your
closest friends, and the kids who loved and followed you everywhere. I hope they too can rely on all the ways you were an angel in their lives and in this life. And can honor you by continuing your legacy. I hope to honor you by living a life that is honest, authentic, and by speaking up when I feel or see that I have been wronged or that things are unjust. I hope to honor you and your memory by taking care of myself. I will honor you by making my teachings and lessons with the kids both engaging and thoughtful. You always made it look so easy!
I still remember how engaged one student was when you gave him the job of your classroom scribe. You loved those kids and I hope to continue to do the same and to uphold your loving and caring and no-crap ways of life. You were an amazing human being and I was really mad and sad that you were taken so quickly, so young and with so much to still do and offer. I will honor you by relying in God and putting my faith in that you are okay; that you are thriving, and that you are still “living the dream!” I love you.
Sincerely your friend and co-worker,
Find a full schedule of poems, to be released weekly in partnership with House of Abundance, here. For more information, future events, and general updates from the community, follow House of Abundance on Instagram at @abundancehouseof.