Sticks, Stones, and the Real Weapons The words we say are real. We are real. We, as humans, are real. We have accepted the ache for growth as a dream that cannot reach fruition a figment of the imagination a gossamer thread that slips from weary arthritis-ridden fingers We find solace in remembering ways that ghosts of black and white photographs changed the world for good. But the world is changing and whether or not we do, too, is up to us. We don’t want to alter a little. A bit. We want to rise as one and find our voice. A voice that defies all expectations colors sounds numbers We want to grow and morph and change like the beauty of a mother’s body that won’t return to the same shape it was. At least not for a long time. We want the change we catalyze to move so fast we leave stretch marks no cocoa butter will remedy or fade or remove. We said we wouldn’t fight you but we never said we wouldn’t fight. The world exploits weakness. Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me. leave scars even a grandmother’s salve cannot heal. cause a rift of doubt that widens to a chasm that will, unchecked, become an abyss. target the parts of me I believed were unbreakable and shatter them irreparably. We watch as you block your ears like it’s a game and the rules keep changing We don’t mind playing it with you just to be near you Ignorance might be deafening but Love roars and rumbles which means you’ll still feel us even when you refuse to listen. So when the darkness of night descends and we finish our prayers When the cold glass of milk is offered us and we finally refuse it When the heavy blanket of silence covers the earth again because despite the humming vocal chords of humanity half our airway is crushed and the other half is afraid it is only then we hear the ghosts rise as one long-silenced voice asking we the many to do what they could not or would not or did not begging us SPEAK UP.
Erika B. Girard is a recent graduate of Saint Leo University in Florida with her B.A. in English Literary Studies and a minor in Hospitality Management. Originally from Rhode Island, she derives creative inspiration from her family, friends, faith, and fascination with the human experience. Her work appears or is forthcoming in The Alembic, Delta Epsilon Sigma Journal, Wild Roof Journal, Sandhill Review, Edify Fiction, and more.
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