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Poem by Sydney Scanlon // Photograph by Marta Braggio

I stand here as a daughter
Young, ripe, and sweet as clementines’
Dripping sticky down your hand

I am a sister
Calloused as the camels’ back
Grown rough to pinches, teases, and taunts

A lover
Sometimes lapping lightly up the shoreline
And other times thrown into a feverous riptide
Salty, leaving lips parched

A student
Eager as the dry earth
Absorbing knowledge with each rainfall

A teacher
Who drops her ideas
As the mango tree in the summertime

I am Sydney
Eighteen
Sanguine and energised

I have lived, up until now, with a lot of labels.
I sit cross legged on my flight across the world and watch
my many titles and accomplishments walk off as I decide I can live without them.
Daughter, lover, and gelato scooper is cast away. Student. Entrepreneur. Babysitter.
Tutor. Athlete. Generous. Baker. Curious. Yogi. One by one I drop each
definition, until I am left with just myself, Sydney. I am suddenly struck by
fear, can I exist without the name and body I consider me. I imagine the
future, with a new name in a different family in the heart of Pune, India. I
decide I can live without it. I will have to. I may come back to the states with new terms of
self awareness and never return to some of my old existences. But nobody should
dare call me a different person. I will only be much more myself.

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Sydney Scanlon

Sydney Scanlon is on a gap year before college in India with Global Citizen Year. Originally from Coral Gables, Florida, Sydney is a considerate thinker who mulls over the metaphysics of existence while reading Waiting for Godot and loves dancing to the beat at the local drum circle. She is a political activist who volunteers at music festivals to register voters. She is a part-time gelato scooper who investigates the economic logistics that will facilitate building additions to a church of mostly illegal immigrants on Calle Ocho and also negotiates the morass of legalities necessary for the permits. She is a sibling of five who goes from volleyball practice, to soccer practice, to yoga, to a game of pick up with neighbours in the street. She believes that informed, moral choices with the greater good in mind can shape a promising future. She wants to be part of that future. She intends to whole heartedly dive into India’s culture to begin to grasp its intricacies. Sydney will begin her Freshman Year at Amherst College in September. www.globalcitizenyear.org

Marta Braggio

Marta Braggio is a photographer and art curator from Vicenza (Italy). She loves art, patterned skirts, colours, and her big dogs Aika and Maya. You can find her on Instagram @martabraggio

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