This was the first poem I read of hers:
I read that in 7th grade. And we little girls, oh my god - we LOVED that poem. We bonded with that poem. We talked about it for days after. It was this voice which acknowledged our experience, and sympathized with it, without ever resorting to victimhood. We felt vindicated. It was awesome. We would quote that poem to each other, and it was always followed by a "Fuck, yeah!" It was the first time I had seen male privilege pointed out, and it was liberating.
wishes for sonsi wish them cramps.i wish them a strange townand the last tampon.i wish them no 7-11.i wish them one week earlyand wearing a white skirt.i wish them one week late.later i wish them hot flashesand clots like youwouldn't believe. let theflashes come when theymeet someone special.let the clots comewhen they want to.let them think they have acceptedarrogance in the universe,then bring them to gynecologistsnot unlike themselves.
Later, I would read "my dream of being white," about fighting colonialism and be humbled by my own privilege; "homage to my hips" made me love my own curves; "the times" was a look directly into the face of seemingly pointless tragedy.
But it was her poem "i am accused of tending to the past" that has always haunted me; it is revolutionary, and dangerous, and I am waiting. She will.
i am accused of tending to the past
as if i made it,
as if i sculpted it
with my own hands. i did not.
this past was waiting for me
when i came,
a monstrous unnamed baby,
and i with my mother’s itch
took it to breast
and named it
she is more human now,
learning languages everyday,
remembering faces, names and dates.
when she is strong enough to travel
on her own, beware, she will.