I got some news this morning that should make me feel better. I found out that a person(s) of interest is in custody for the 2003 murder of one of my students. Kiya was shot to death as she slept on her couch in June 2003 by bullets most likely intended for someone else. It was called a drive by shooting. It is a significant marked spot in the time line of my life. It has been such a long time and I had resigned that the police would never be able to crack the silence of my school's neighborhood. I had let go of a lot of the negative and terrible feelings and had been able to look back on Kiya with positive thoughts. I guess I was just plugging the hole because this morning I sat and sobbed and sobbed at the news link my old co-worker sent me. I could not stop crying and it might have been a release of four years or just a final goodbye- I don't know. I just do know that Kiya imprinted her soul on mine and there are not enough words to describe the 9 year old girl from the inner city who memorized Langston Hughes and brought the school to its knees with her poetry and the ability to speak in front of assemblies and mesmerize crowds. She was ethereal in her beauty inside and out. I feel honored that I was able to spend my days with her. I have said it before, but she and all the other students were my amazing primer to motherhood. I cherish what they taught me.
In the weeks after her death I became pregnant with Finn. In my inner most thoughts and private wishes I would allow myself to believe that a tiny piece of Kiya was being reborn. I spoke her name and thought of naming my unborn child Kiya if a girl...
I thought of a lot of things during those first few months after she was murdered. I mostly thought of her light and her goodness and today I am trying to get back to that place again. I am trying to see that there is sense in a senseless world. I am trying to think of her smiling and gorgeous and smart up in heaven like my friend Regan says, "Having a tea party with Langston Hughes." If there is a heaven I am sure Langston Hughes and most of the other inhabitants are surrounding her and she is the belle of the whole shabang.
When I get down sometimes I will read this particular poem that Kiya read at our school one evening at a family night. I will hear her complete confidence and strong voice... I will hear the past but see the future.
A GREAT SOMEBODY
By: Adrian Sceley Hartesty
I am a serious child.
I am a serious child with serious goals.
My life is destine to be filled with positivity.
I am a worker.
If it takes hard work to reach my goals, I will do it.
I am a clean somebody.
I know if I lie down with hogs, I will come up with mud. So I will work to keep my mind, my body and my character clean.
I am intelligent.
My brain is a storage place.
So I will fill it to the brim with knowledge and look forward with hope of what tomorrow will bring.
I am a hero.
I don’t spend time wasting time because I know there is room at the top for me.
I am the greatest somebody there is,
so start leading me now teachers,
start guiding me now teachers,
start praising me now teachers.
and you will see me rise to the highest heights.