War Cry (A Pantoum)

Don’t open my door if you aren’t going to close it when you leave

Are you listening to me?

I deserve respect no matter my size or shape, just like everyone else

I am not some object to conquer or kill

 

Are you listening to me?

The Taliban cannot just board my dusty school bus and fire three shots at me

I am not some object to conquer or kill

You, with your rough whiskers, must face the consequences of what you take

 

The Taliban cannot just board my dusty school bus and fire three shots at me

You are right to fear that I may know too much, that education is serving me right

You, with your rough whiskers, must face the consequences of what you take

I am learning that a woman is worth more than just how much she can please a man

 

You are right to fear that I may know too much, that education is serving me right

Do your worst, I will still be standing against you at the end of each day

I am learning that a woman is worth more than just how much she can please a man

My name is Malala, your bullets will not silence me

 

Do your worst, I will still be standing against you at the end of each day

I deserve respect no matter my size or shape, just like everyone else

My name is Malala, your bullets will not silence me

You cannot just close this door after you open it

 

-October 2015

Photo Credit

When the Salmon Rots

Once I walked along Mallory Street with him

when the summer sun was still high in the sky at seven in the evening.

The ebbs and flows of laughter from backyard parties

crash on my ears like ocean water beating against the rocks.

 

We had so much fun at that bonfire on the beach, he and I.

The air in my nose was stronger than a salmon swimming upstream.

But if you stayed close enough to the growling fire

that smoky haze would cover you better than a fur blanket.

So I stayed close, tucked into him

dreaming of honey.

 

Against the black curtain of the sky

It was hard to tell the difference between

the fading flickers of a hot, red amber from a fire

versus his taillights fading down the road.

And then you realize it can’t always be seven o’clock on a summer evening.

 

Afterwards, once it’s over,

I still have these bug bite memories itching all over the skin of my heart

and I want so badly to scratch at it, just to give myself a few moments of relief.

But I know I shouldn’t go back there again with him

because a man who can taste the honey on my lips

and still want to go around tasting other beehives

did not deserve a palate at all.

Bug bites fade on their own anyway.

 

Once I walked along Mallory Street with him.

Now I walk it alone,

still dreaming of honey though.

Cause honey soothes all bug bites

and coats over foul salmon memories.

 

-September 2015

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