the ghosts of women once girls

Aja Monet

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somewhere a little girl is reading aloud

in the middle of a dirt road. she smiles

at the sound of her own voice escaping

the spine of a book. she feeds on her hunger

to know herself. she has not yet been taught

to dim, she sits with the stars beneath her feet,

a constellation of things to come.

as if a swallowed moon, she glimmers.

her head wrap rolls out in a gutter, bare feet

scat the earth, the ghosts of women once girls

make bridge of the dust dancing behind her,

she decorates the ground in dimples

she stomps suffering out the spirit

hooves drumming the earth in circles

she holds gladness in her mouth

like a secret teased out of a giggle

joy like her sadness overflows

she is not the opinions of others

she is of visions and imagination

somewhere a little girl is reading aloud in the middle of a dirt road.

she smiles at the sound of her own voice escaping the spine of a book.

she is a room full

of listening, lending herself

to her own words

somewhere

 

a deep remembering of what was, she survives all.

Aja Monet, "the ghosts of women once girls," from My Mother Was a Freedom Fighter. Copyright © 2017 by Aja Monet. Reprinted by permission of Haymarket Books.

Source: My Mother Was a Freedom Fighter (Haymarket Books, 2017)