Watching my sister
slurp sprinkles from the side of a cone,
I told her that she was a woman
with fine wine and Susan B. Anthony
running through her veins.
I told her that she was Miss America,
that she sweat gold and cried silver,
that her one split-ended curl
was worth more than a whole synthetic wig—
don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
I told her that the girl at her art table
with the hijab
wouldn’t hurt her, but the white boy
who tried to play footsy under the desk might;
and by the way, I told her,
stomp all over his white Vans,
because your feet belong only to you,
as does every other bone
of your body.
I told her that Mexico was real,
from our nights wrapped in blankets
humming husky Spanish hymns,
to tortilla-clapping women
kneading empanada dough by candlelight,
to the broken beer bottles in the street.
Life’s not a fairytale, I told her;
people aren’t villains or Prince Charmings,
Most of all, I told her
that although she couldn’t vote,
couldn’t post, couldn’t campaign,
couldn’t even stay awake long enough
to see the California polls close,
she was Athena, Aphrodite and Artemis,
changing history with every breath.
while newscasters were telling
electoral wins and losses, I told her
to wear her black clothes
and drying tear stains proudly.
I told her the Bible was her armor
and she was the warrior, stronger
than any glass mirror; I told her
and I told her, told her until I
believed it too.
Morgan Hylton is a 17 year old a writer, editor, and a soon-to-be English major from Towson, Maryland. Morgan reflects that the inspiration for her poem came “as November 8th drew nearer. I became increasingly frustrated by not being able to vote. As a soon-to-be college student, as a Christian who spends a week every summer serving a Mexican border town, and as a young woman, so many of the ‘hot topics’ this election season related to me; still, I couldn’t vote simply because of my age. As a writer, it was natural for me to turn to poetry as a constructive outlet for my frustration. I hope that through reading this, women and other marginalized groups will feel encouraged and empowered rather than defeated.”