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Culture

An International Women's Day Poem

On March 8, reflecting on global pain felt by women and girls.

By Fiona Tinwei Lam 8 Mar 2016 | TheTyee.ca

Fiona Tinwei Lam is a Vancouver author, editor, teacher and former lawyer.

[Editor's note: This poem was first read at an International Women's Day celebration at Joy Kogawa House in 2015, and is published here with permission.]

I want to write a poem for every girl and woman today
Who has been told she can't attend school although her brothers can;
Who has had acid thrown on her dreams;
Who has been shot in the head for thinking;
Who is forced into marriage as if her life weren't her own;
Who is bought, who is sold;
Who weeps or who can no longer weep
because of the men who trespass her body;
Who is beaten and fearful; who is beaten, but fearless;
Who is starved because she speaks out, speaks back, just speaks;
Whose house is bombed, whose village is razed;
Who is stoned for adultery because she is pregnant;
Who is stoned for a rape that male judges call adultery;
Whose family erases her, whose community evicts her;
Who has just enough money for a single egg;
Who carefully slices that egg for her children to eat;
Who is denied a single day off work;
Who takes on three jobs to keep her family off the street;
Who is whipped by her boss after days without sleep;
Who watches over our children in manicured playgrounds
while her own grow up motherless;
Who lies locked for months alone in a cell;
Who huddles into herself with eyes like trampled flowers;
Whose mind is trapped in the shuddering loop of annihilating night;
Who is told she is nothing when she is everything;
Who is told she is dirt, when she is the Earth.  [Tyee]

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