girls like us

November 16, 2009 § 1 Comment

girls like us

There is this moment when you say yes to life as the world says no.  But what else could come out your lips but yes?

Even though yes is a risk, defiance and deviance.

Don’t believe the hype.  The biggest risks in life look like the ordinary moments, like going to prison for the crime of stepping off an airplane.

The first morning in detention you stop me in the hallway and whisper, you have to fight them, you can’t let the guards push you around.  You stand erect, one small hand, brown like mine, resting on your 8 month pregnant belly, the other hand on my shoulder.

There are no stories for girls like us who dream and fight for love so fierce it spills out of our mouths and veins and into the world flooding the man-made lines that slice the sun-drunken sands and recreating oceans and oases, so that girls like us can drink and finally be full.

We do not exist, have never existed, and yet l clutch a pen.  Even though some days I can’t write, cant make words string together, make sentencees, make paragraphs, make sense, make the publication deadline, make dollars, make a life for me and my daughter, because I spend too much time clutching my shoulders in nicotine drenched corners trying to convince myself that i am real. But then my daughter toddles to me and kisses my forehead.  I scoop her in my arms and tell her its going to be alright.  Even if we are surrounded by prison guards concrete walls, wrought iron bars, we will make it through the night.

Girls like us are supposed to be too broken to speak, too stubborn to love, too angry to breathe.
But we are breathing still.

Millions of women and children have been captured in jail cells because we walk on the wrong side of an arbitrary line that slices across the deserts of ancestors who did not exist because we do not exist. Behind the metal prison doors, I bite my lips, pressing back the tears so baby girl won’t be afraid, as I listen to you being dragged out down the hall.  The screams echo through the vents and the guards will be coming for me next.

I don’t know most of the people who will hear these words.  But if you hear them, I want you to know that you do exist, because I do. And I exist, because you do.  We exist.

Even though we have no stories, girls like us keep taking risks, keep insisting on our own existence, keep yelling yes.

And we are not angry this because we will die one day, but because girls like us dont get to exist in the first place.


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