She Realizes She is a Human

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Painting by Laurel Burch: The inspiration for this theme came to me out of a reverence and belief in the sacredness of beings, and creatures, and all living things.

My skin is purple

Underneath I’m red

I feel responsible

For the monsters in my head

I lie awake in my bed

Is this life until I’m dead?

Is this my life

Until I’m dead?

I am growing branches from my shoulders

My leaves turn green

In the spring sun I bear fruit

I was awake when you whispered

You loved me

I was awake

When I pretended I was asleep

I’ve been awake to many things

And pretend I’m asleep

To keep myself sane

To protect myself from the suffering

Am I strong, or am I weak?

He began to raise his voice

She held firm in her raised eyebrow

She knew if he were to yell louder

The neighbors would hear

Sad she doesn’t know, they’re used to the fighting now

Along the subway she slept

Peacefully sleeping in her chaos

Sleep comes sweet like sugar in medicine

She wakes to find a new spot for the night

Standing atop a wondrous hill

The wind picked up and settled in chill

Her knight, she thought, was coming one day

Unaware of her own glistening armor

Silver sword at her hip

Hips swaying side to side

Her round bottom catching eyes

Everyone swooned when she smiled

She was just trying to pick up her child

School is a prison

The pipeline is working

Prison is the mind

Stuck in slavery

Prison is the body

Feared by power

Prison is the soul

Exploited by jealousy

Prison was made

By the oppressor

Her jealous lover demanded

Unappreciative of her gifts

Things had been going so well

She had roses in her hair

She smelled like a blossoming garden

Blooming for a man

Who destroyed her petals

She learned to build

Walls instead of flowers

Her body ached from the unnatural labor

No man could have her

Asking someone to be with you

For a lifetime is pretty cruel.

To accept his demons and to ask for love

She does so without blinking

Because she loves

Her baby boy in her arms

She crosses the rio grande

Hoping to one day sing him to sleep

Sweet lullabies about their native land

In a new land that may one day

Destroy her baby boy

His hands so small

They can barely grasp

That one day he’ll be a man

The mother prays that he’ll be kind

She braves the sweltering sun

Miles of desert sand

Towards an unknown

Blistering feet of those who fight

Angered by injustice

Taking to the streets

Hear the heartbeat

Of those hearts who are breaking

But together they stand

With ideas of a better world

My heart aches and pulls my chest in

Heartbeats don’t define life

My words come and my words go

The tides come and the tides go

But that doesn’t mean there isn’t an ocean

I am my ocean

Deep and mysterious

No man has gone deep enough

To uncover the gems she has hidden

She’s not a treasure hunt

There is just the depth and pressure of a woman

Pressuring her to say yes

Not really sure what to say

She mumbles

It’s not OK to assume yes

She is paralyzed

When her lover confessed

He too violated a woman

How can that be?

A man so sweet

Violated and destroyed

A woman and her identity

She looks in the mirror

She isn’t what she sees

A disfigured creature

Scared and breaking

Barely breathing

She wants so badly to shed her skin

And become the butterfly she was meant to be

Before he hurt her

She forever lives in her cocoon made of silk

What do you do

When the ones you love

Have at one time perpetuated hate?

Isn’t it great

That humans are such forgetful creatures

A curse and a blessing

We reinvent ourselves

We evolve

It keeps our species alive


What does it mean to be alive?

For a human?

Is it our breath? Our Doubt? Our love?

Our forgiveness? Our mistakes?

He held his daughter on his shoulders

Her sweet child laughter dances in the air

Onlookers smile and wave at her

She giggles blissfully unaware

That one day she will be a woman

A woman just looked around

Did others witness her being harassed

Unbelievable she thought

This just happened to me

This is now a part of my story

Her eyes frantically searching

For a knowing look

To acknowledge she wasn’t crazy

That she wasn’t crazy for reacting

Strangers blur in

Strangers blur out


A perfect word to describe

Strangers living just as vividly

As you and I live

You are a stranger to a stranger

And so on

So when strangers carry on

Blind to injustice

Know that the strangers

Are what makes up our society

And we are responsible for each other

Your averting eyes and turning cheeks

Do not absolve your responsibility

“Speak up,” the teacher said

She raised her voice a little louder

She wasn’t explicitly taught to be quiet

It was just a given to be smaller

And when she braved to dare the structure

To shake it’s foundation

She realized just how weak

The structure is

“I am alive,” she said

“I am alive because of my mother.”

The walls begin to crumble

“You are alive because of your mother.”

The roof is blown away

And sunlight shines in

“We are alive because of women.”

“We die because we are human.”

And she summoned the universe

A witch, she has powers

She is the one who determines

Whether she wishes to give life

Because she is worth more

Than her uterine capabilities

She realizes

And that’s how she knows she’s alive

She wishes to awaken

Those that are asleep

And they realize life doesn’t have to be this way

Life doesn’t have to be this way

What are these games we play?

Truth? Woman and man are humans

Dare? I dare you to be a human

See strangers as human

See me how I want to be seen

Find the beauty in me

I’ll find the beauty in you

And i’ll love you for what you are

A human

Dancing at the intersection of programming and spontaneity. I have the strength to be better, and to love. Twitter: @mcgowanbrianna1

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