Loudoun High School Student Recognized by Scholastic Art and Writing

Kashvi Ramani a writer, actress, and musician from Loudoun County and who is a Student Editor for Loudoun County Magazine received awards from the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards at the regional level, for three poems: “Schism,” “Women of the 21st Century,” and “Beautiful, Wonderful, Sickening.” Each piece tackles an issue important to Ramani and her communities. “Schism” is a collection of pieces that highlights her identity as an Indian American woman and the struggles she faced growing up as she tried to bridge the gaps between her two worlds. “Women of the 21st Century” outlines two figures who are great influences on our world today: Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Kamala Devi Harris. She documents the experiences of these two women, discussing their impact abstractly and their rise to stardom through narrative, respectively. Finally, “Beautiful, Wonderful, Sickening” is a poem that documents the experiences of a victim of sexual abuse, which so many have faced throughout the county. Each of these pieces were devised to help let her peers know they are not alone.

Model Minority 

each body part is detached, loose 

limp limbs  

light lies 

that slip quicker off the tongue each time 

my mouth is wet but 

forgot the taste of water 

forgot the taste 


who am I? 

where’s the diversity in ethnicity? 

we’re all the same  

they write in pen  

claims strong – no need to erase 

if everything comes easy  

why try to be someone else? 

“she’s the one hiding in the corner” 

“the glasses fogged with tears” 

“she’s the future doctor – 

what do you mean what else?” 

I’m the girl who knows no self 

Unconditional and Uncolored 

to babies,  

the world is littered with shapeless blobs.  

baby girl doesn’t know father from brother, knows her mother’s warmth better than her face.  

leaves her nest with eyes closed,  

too afraid to fly with 20/200 vision, tries to escape – 

she expects the worst from the world. then feels breath on her lashes, and flutters them open.  

doesn’t focus  

on scars, on gender, on color, rather fixates  

on the outline of your soft eyes. sees the love, the whispered promise of protection, then trusts. 

she grows up, 

and lives life in the gray area

sees truth in fragments, realizes two-sided stories have enough points of view to make her sick. 

her unconditional love 

is conditioned to see love on a spectrum 

where a white dove is purity and a raven is terror. she learns to run from the dark. 

mother marches for equality, 

father campaigns for a man who promises equity, both from the land of spice and sweltering sun.  escaped for a better life, endured the racism for their shining daughter. 

and yet they steer her 

to the white girl on the playground.  

enroll her in a catholic school, check the box by “morning prayers” for a religion she’s not a part  of, pack pasta for lunch. 

say they’re 

shaping, making, not erasing, escaping 

and she turns the mirror on herself, crying till tears make her somebody else. 

she takes their place. 

births a baby bird with unfiltered eyes, 

nose like her father’s, smile like her mother’s, love like hers. 

but unlike them, she escapes. 

escapes the endless cycle of unjustified prejudice 

escapes carbon copy thinking, forcing the only “stable career” 

escapes narrowed education, learning but not listening 

escapes a two-color world, shows her child how to fly under rainbows (and rainbow flags) escapes assumptions, adherences, appearances 

escapes an unchanging life 

because change is the only way to soar, wings finally light with unfiltered love.  even newborn vision can see that. 

Indian Representation 

I never learned a second language. 

Amma would holler in a foreign tongue 

Words swirling around me like vapor 

Bitter to taste at first, 

Until I remember the familiar flavor 

Of a phrase finally learned by heart  

after years of practice.

Second grade, new school. 

Eyebrows furrowed at the large white exterior Decorating the front of the building. 



My classmates 

Color of the school. 

Gaze drifts to the brown sheep at the back 

Stark contrast to pearly white. 

The mean ones tease my food and frizz 

The nice ones ask what country I’m from, 

Cocking heads when I recite the Pledge of Allegiance. 

I run when I see him. 

They ask if we are related 

Replacing questions with rumors of marriage But only when I come of age. 

When I near him in the hall 

I sprint from my past; 

From the language I never knew 

From my dad’s animated fingers painting stories of gods From the colored packets containing magic  Our own version of Holy  

But with an “I.” 

I can’t be both. 

The dash permanently 

Erased from my life. 

My two worlds 

Like separate phrases 

Indian, comma, American.


shelf swoops throne when she straightens 

firm hand, brass throat, glass gaze 

spring in her neck, spring in her step 

her waxen voice smooths bumps in nations 

she’s dense, packed; 

holes away her own hardship to save 

everyone else’s 

wooden rod in her spine 

firm hand, glass gaze, cast back 

graying in hair but you wouldn’t tell her 

heart is blood red 

and flaming 

yellow spells jubilation 

oranges paints lead 

red hatches lines in both and 

fervor overrules 

and when the moon sprinkles the earth 

with stardust 

and the fire fizzles for good 

the smoke coats the world in memory 

a lasting light in the dark 


Amma always said “go do something.” I’m bored on a lazy Sunday, scared for what may happen to our world,  modeling in the uncut stems of our backyard. “Find something productive. Then fix it. Think bigger, Kashvi,  bigger.” 

Shyamala Harris always said “go do something,” whether her daughter was bored at school or conducting a  mock trial with her sister in the comfort of her duplex. “Find something productive. Think bigger, Kamala,  bigger.” 

Born in a nation of freedom and peace, but 8,000 miles across the sea is a piece of our identity. A life never  lived, a story never told, a part we never really formed into a whole. 

For her, her mother groomed her to see the world with screened eyes. “Understand they see you with a black  filter, accept it, but never expect the worst.” The saris were banished to the back of her closet. 

I never had them to begin with. White picket fences line the street, American flags flap in the gusts of wind I  never got used to. Maybe the drops of moisture beading my forehead at every hour of the day in India suits me  better. The life fulfilled, the story written, where I’m treated like a princess, maids and drivers at my command.  Or at least where princesses like me exist.

The foundation of Kamala’s steady home was rattled early on, couldn’t take on the world with the broken  shards of her glass heart. So she picked up the pieces and hid them, her head leading instead of her chest. She  would make her mother proud. 

And I was a bird at birth. Just itching to fly home, wherever that is. I never belonged here, or there, or  anywhere, really, but each time my mind would get wrapped around itself, my mother would call with a  megaphone to jumpstart my brain, would tell me exactly where I was. Say these wings would know someday,  so take it step-by-step. I knew that I would make her proud. 

Kamala soared. Said dethrone the “king,” campaigning to run our country. Or rather, sit by its side. Hand picked for her love, or was it her color? The best option to grace the ballot, or is it the lesser of two evils? Now  she’s caught. How can she fly when her wings are clipped by the people she hopes to govern? 

“Go do something.” Clock hands tick. “Go do something.” Another life lost. “Go do something,” even when  you’re caged; “Go do something, go do something,” because a caged bird can still sing. 

Her mother, decorated in the stars like constellations, lives in her glass heart, and reminds Kamala of the hope  that keeps her from nose-diving with every comment of “not black enough” or “brown enough”, (they say I’m  not Indian enough, not white enough,) every “Trump 2020,” two words set on a loop as a comeback to all  accusations, even a year later, (they always have a jeering reply when I stand up for what I believe in,) every “a  woman is not fit to lead.” (I could never thrive in a male-dominated field.) 

But her presence is strong enough to dispel all accusations, her mother’s name the wind under her wings to keep  her aloft. Began as Kamala Harris, a little girl with big dreams and a strict mom that taught her independence.  Was once Senator Kamala Harris, the first South Asian senator. Is now Vice President Harris, the first female,  black, and Indian Vice President in American History.  

It’s nearing inauguration day in 2021, and the new start has already been tainted by a sea of red. Can’t handle  defeat, excuse after excuse tumbling from the king of hearts. But he won’t have the power to behead any longer.  

Her Amma always said go do something. So she does. 

“For centuries, justice has been symbolized as a woman, blindfolded, a scale in her hands. Her eyes are covered  because justice shouldn’t depend on the color of your skin. It shouldn’t depend on how much money you have.  Justice should be impartial.” 

Amma always said go do something. So I do. I don’t let them tell me that my birth year makes me any less  advised, or that the color of my skin determines my rights. I don’t let them preach that my sex keeps me  earthbound.  

8,000 miles across the sea, but these wings need not spread right away. I’ve found a home and I’m here to stay.

Beautiful, Wonderful, Sickening 

From the perspective of a victim of sexual abuse 

the doorknob is pristine,  

silver like delicate drop pearls.  

the lock is upright.  

i look away  

as he inches closer.  

the paintings are vivid.  

i analyze the textured  

landscape as a wooden grip surrounds my wrist.  “my, aren’t the paintings so 


isnt the doorknob so wonderful?  

its all so beautiful, wonderful,  

and-.” the wood 

wraps around my mouth and  

i purse my lips.  

he always said  

i had  

beautiful lips. beautiful, wonderful lips.  

his wood tastes like salt.  

the salt makes 

my eyes water.  

the salt turns blue eyes black. like coal.  

i wonder how hard 

i need to press to see the diamonds.  

fingernails dig into my palms until red peeks through the white.  

i don’t think that’s hard enough.  

i smile when his hair 

shields the white, my beautiful, wonderful ivory skin.  i close my eyes when he  


i think my teeth parted. he presses and  

i press my eyes. shut harder, harder. 

Where Did The Diamonds Go?

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply