Five Lessons in the Art of Empowerment

Fri, 11/09/2018 - 21:28 -- Sasha T


The first day I realized


freedom is not free without a cost,


I was thirteen—

when we read To Kill a Mockingbird

and I could not help but think


the world’s not all that different now.


Violence is still the plague—






everybody in its path.



The first day I learned


swimming against the current

now causes you to drown,


I was fourteen—

when I watched my best friend

sit down for the pledge—


she drowns.


I still can’t understand how

anchors became life-rafts—


I drown.



The first day I became


the change I wanted to see in the world,


I was fifteen—

I still didn’t know what it would mean.


I picked up a pen

and stuttered words onto a page,

watching them take formless breaths—

            they lived.


I hoped the people

they were about would too.



The first day I was told


women don’t deserve a voice


I was sixteen—

when I hit upload on a poem,



women are the renaissance—


the rebirth of equality—


shot down,


I was reeling for days.



Every day,

I pressed upload







One day,

it was the publish button

on my book.


I built kingdoms from stones

I caught with my pen—


I will always write.


When there is nothing left,

I will have my words.


And somewhere,

there is a girl in a classroom,

grasping the pages of

To Kill a Mockingbird,

the same thoughts running through her mind—

in her backpack is my book.


In her backpack,

there is hope.


In her backpack

there’s a voice.






Note: Referred to this page by emails from 


This poem is about: 
My community
My country
Our world


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