To Write a Poem
Barbara Jane Reyes
She is writing a poem — this is just to say
She is alive inside an icebox, so sweet
She is locked inside — four × two × two
She does not scream, not once in three days
She is praised by her jailers, she is so cool
She is entered, entered, again, again
She is curled up, she is hosed down
She bears and grits, she plots in the night
She calls 911, please save me. I am here. I am —
She is documented, “human traffic”
She is reported as “child pornography”
She is late breaking news’ “victim”
She is a demographic “youth at risk”
She is a statistical “teenage runaway”
She is a poet, writing, this is what I know.
She is a poet, signing, this is my name.
From To Love as Aswang: Songs, Fragments & Found Objects
Available from Pawa, Inc.
Read another poem from the book at the Poetry Foundation site.
Barbara Jane Reyes is the author of Diwata, Poeta en San Francisco, and Gravities of Center. She has also authored three chapbooks, For the City That Nearly Broke Me, Cherry, and Easter Sunday. To Love as Aswang is her fourth full-length poetry collection.