A Poem

photo of Dora Raymaker
by Dora Raymaker

When the numbers roll in, I see where
I fall:
1 in 1,000
1 in 150
1 in 88
children America has committed to prevent from being born.

When the issues come to the table, I observe where
I stand:
far away
waiting to learn
what someone else has decided that I deserve.

When I step out into the world, I learn what
I am:
a monster
a broken doll, so cute, but in need of remediation.

But these are not my facts.
These are not the planes of knowing I inhabit.
These are not my truth.

For I fall into the 1 in 1,000, 150, 88 who
cannot be tamed
or chained
or destroyed
or prevented from being alive–
I am no token, no slave; I am fire and fury and light.

From where I stand, I bring to the table
jewels and
seeds and fresh water
and timber and nails to build a bridge–
I have magic; invite me in.

In the world I step lightly, shining
glitter follows me down the street from
sweet delight at the
ripple of wind across my skin and

the glint of endless possibility in my eye–
I am of this world and in this world; I am nature too.

It is said knowledge is power.
I know myself.

Note: This poem is a loose response to ideas put forth in “Power and Knowledge” (Gaventa, 2004) (and derived from Lukes, 1974) which discuss a three-tiered model of knowledge as power: control of decision-making, control of what issues are brought up for decision, and control over what issues are in the public consciousness in the first place.  I found this a useful model for examining the ways in which we are silenced, marginalized, tokenized, and used for an agenda which we reject.  I also found it a useful model for examining ways in which we might use knowledge to take that power back.

Gaventa, J. & Cornwall, A. (2004). Power and Knowledge. In W. Carroll(Ed.) Critical strategies for social research (p.320-33). Toronto, ON: Canadian Scholars Press

Lukes, S. 1974. Power: a radical view. London: Macmillan.