Original Poetry by Liz Lugo

Since the Day I Born


I smiled.

Pure dimples. 

Cutest.

Naive.

All I wanted-

to play with dolls,

to skateboard,

to pet my dog.


I smiled.

I wanted mom 

to teach me how to cook,

to bake my favorite cake,

to put the mascara, 

even if she wasn\’t into makeup.


I smiled.

Dreaming about my license,

my college degree,

to enjoy my friend\’s wedding –

until it was my turn.


I smiled.

Daydreaming about peace,

the shore embracing my feet,

closing my eyes, 

devouring that slice of pizza on my teeth.


I smiled.

Imagined my daughter,

or son,

and nieces and nephews.

Imagined the gaze 

of the love of my life.


I smiled.

Looking at the mirror

each morning,

afternoon,

and night.

Imagined wrinkles

all over my body.


I smiled.

When I stumbled,

I failed,

I was rejected,

I needed to be strong.


I smiled.

For the camera

but —

most behind it.

I was excited

about my future.


I smiled,

because I learned 

to love my smile —

the most beautiful feature I had.


I smiled.

Because I smelled,

I felt,

I heard,

I tasted,

I saw.


I smiled.

I was happy.

I was alive.

I wanted to live.


But you —

you pointed at me,

you targeted me,

you trampled me,

you hit me,

you raped me,

you KILLED me.


And you weren\’t there.

But you did it.

You KILLED me.


You kept silent.

You laughed.

You blamed me.

You hurt me.


You smashed my future,

my dreams,

my desires,

my hope.


You ignored

when others fought.

You turned your gaze

when others destroyed.

YOU are guilty.


But, I smiled.

One more time

in this body,

in this Earth,

in this dimension.


Now, I smile on Heaven.


They say:

\”You have to accept it.\”

We live in a misogyny society,

\”you have to accept it.\”

They trample us,

they hurt us,

they abuse us

they kill us —

\”you have to accept it.\”


And you were walking,

3:00 in the morning,

hoodie, tennis, joggers —

….. 

\”It was your fault.\”

\”you have to accept it.\”


But you were at your house,

12:00 in the noon,

long pant/long sleeve pajama –

…..

\”What did you expect?\”

\”you have to accept it.\”


You were only four-years-old,

playing at your cousin\’s home,

long dress –

…..

\”That\’s their nature.\”

\”you have to accept it.\”


What else we have to accept?


I refuse. 

I refuse to let any other girl,

teen,

woman die.


I refuse 

to be a part of a trashy society,

to clap to the attackers,

to blame the victims.


I refuse

to let another second pass,

to allow empty minds

to control our lives.


What have we done? 


I refuse to support 

any laughs,

anyone pointing at us,

targeting us.

 

I refuse to support

any killers,

including women 

who picked the wrong side.


ENOUGH!


I refuse to ACCEPT.

I demand CHANGE.

I demand JUSTICE.

I demand RESPECT.

I demand EQUALITY.


I refuse to JUSTIFY.

I am not OK

with how we live,

with how we cry,

with how we suffer. 


I demand to be seen as a human being.

I demand to walk free as any man.

I demand to feel safe.

I demand to breathe without fear.


I refuse 

to be seen as a body.

I demand to be seen as a soul.


We are all the same. We are all one.


In honor of all women. In memory and honor of Rosimar Rodríguez Gómez and all the victims of gender-based violence, sexual abuse, and rape – alive or not. Stop belittling us. Stop assaulting us. Stop hurting us. Stop killing us. Start RESPECTING us.

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