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Pretty Powerful

Updated: Jan 15

Poem and illustrations by Grace Alice O'Shea

My hair...


Spilling

from my scalp

regardless of what storms

rage inside and outside,


Shining


Weighing like a curtain

Around a mind

that could only ever

be mine,




Strands


jumping ship

leaving dark little trails

of me

wherever I go

My confetti.


My eyes...


Two houses

Lived in by

sadness, hurt, anger

laughter, joy, hope,

Narrowed, widened, flushed with feeling


Lashes


fluttering and flattering,

A set of weapons

of witchcraft

that I slowly learned to use.


My lips...


Parted, pouted, protested

Used to

get my way

find my way,

Soft, but

The sounds that emerge can carry

blades,

Teeth used to

keep words in

spit them out

invite people in

kick them out,

A bite that can both

seduce and silence.


My shoulders...


Tensing

Slumping, shimmying, shrugging

Holding in place

Aching, cracking, stretching,

Like wings folding up

when the world seems angry

spreading wide when it seems conquerable.


My arms, hands, fingers...

Reaching for my mother

my friends

strangers in nightclub bathrooms

lovers that I loved

lovers that I did not,

Holding, hugging, squeezing

teasing

sparking fires of desire

and putting them out,

Writing – fingers and wrists dancing

delicately

conjuring up millions and millions

of little shapes in small collections

Falling into lines

Falling hard

Onto notebooks, schoolbooks, screens,

Lists, diaries, love notes,

Ballots

To protest, to express

To succeed, to progress.


My spine...


A backbone

A little bit chipped

from years of thinking that I

should not and I cannot,

Now a stack

Of bone and boldness

calcified

claiming that I should

and I can.


My feet, my legs...


Pounding pavements

pushing on

Through breath growing teeth

nipping at my lungs,

Aching soles

and burnt out bones and blisters,

Patient to patient, school to school

Dancing long after bed has called

and been ignored


On vodka-glazed floors

rooftops

grass

sand and cement,

Propelling me through

Jumps of joy and

Walks which felt never-ending –

out of relationships

out of frying pans and into fires

and spitting me back out again,

To walk

tall

brave

unapologetic

with power.


My least noticeable accomplishment...

Looking

nice

pretty

palatable.


My body has...

Fought for me, fought for others, fought off fists

Crawled, crashed, connected, created

Loved, laboured, longed

Healed, hoped, helped

Grieved, grown

Needed, nurtured

Survived, soared


Overcome.


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