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Emily Rowe Jan 25
it’s not just in the dark
walking home alone at night
it’s not just in the crowded spaces
strangers brushing against each other
it’s in our very own homes
engrained in our culture
it’s in our schools and our churches
spaces designed for safety
a twisted reality
like cigarette smoke it hovers above our conversations
our education
our institutions
everyone’s choking on it but no one speaks of it

woman,
screaming silently

do you know the bodies left in the wake of our politicians?
our teachers?
our CEOs?
everything interpreted as a yes except the word yes

when they’re at the podium,
the board,
the altar,
the office,

are you listening?
in between their words
do you hear the ones they silenced?

we don’t care about glass ceilings
we’ve shattered them a hundred times
and will a hundred times more-
we want glass houses
because only we know what happens
behind closed doors
Emily Rowe Nov 2019
In terminal D of the JFK airport
a bird—
trapped in the hostel of the metal birds,
a prisoner of its man-made rival
it screams
it screams
it screams
no one listens
who would help a bird in an airport?
humans come and go
some walking some running
into the metal birds they go
but the bird—
the bird is helpless
for as loud as it screams
it falls onto deaf ears
it falls onto ears that say
what a pretty song that bird sings
Emily Rowe Nov 2019
in the morning the sun’s rays will touch me apprehensively
(fragile)
i carry my broken body to the mirror
it holds my reflection like a ****** weapon (dangerous)
like poison i behold all of my flaws
i start with my face
turning from every angle
too round, too uneven
i move down to my torso
my face twists, repulsed
not flat
my legs too long, too wide
every part of me too much
or not enough

try again
close your eyes
breathe

i start with my face
freckles from warm summer days
lips that speak words of love
eyes bright like the sun

my torso like the furnace of my body
the deepest laughs come from here
over home cooked meals with family and friends

my legs hold me fast
my legs move me forward
my legs push me higher

the mirror can be a war zone
but it can also be an altar
if you just let it be
Emily Rowe Aug 2019
it’s on days like this
heat rising off the asphalt
I pick up a couple of chocolates from the gas station
I’m reminded of hot June afternoons
in my grandads yard
how much sweeter chocolate tasted
melted on my small fingers,
I am reminded of my grandads weathered hands
Plucking blueberries, gently he placed them in my palms
In his backyard he told me about the birds that sang above us
the busy ants I cried about for biting my bare feet in the dirt
His stormy eyes held stories about far away places, five cent bottles of coke, Georgia sunsets,
it’s on days like today I remember how he held my hand in his and showed me the crops
Said that we ought to thank God for the rain
And at the dinner table I can still hear his prayer
wanting to be everything he was
And as the years went on
even when the hands he placed blueberries in outgrew his own
even when his tired body couldn’t sow any more crops
melted chocolate around my mouth
sweet summer days in my grandaddy’s yard
Emily Rowe Oct 2018
words crash on the floor
shattered glass around your feet
when did it ever get this bad?

the broken glass embedded in your lips
****** words broken words
when did it get so painful to speak?

the words you left in the air
they were too heavy for the spirits to hold
the angels undercover looked away

the words you left at my door
they were too hollow for my soul to keep
the Earth weeps below them

and don’t you know by now?
don’t you know that the words you leave
can never be taken back?

you can try to piece them back together
you will cut your hands
you will scream at the Sky

the words you leave
are greater than the love you bring

and you look at me and i look at you
and the glass separating us cracks

oh, the bad luck of a broken mirror
Emily Rowe Apr 2018
when i got my first period,
i was thrilled.
marked with the crimson stroke of womanhood,
i was no longer a little girl.
i was no longer too young
to be a part of the whispered gossip filled conversations
of the women in my family.
my sister and i could share boxes of pads and tampons,
bottles of advil and naproxen.
i was no longer too young to go bra shopping,
too young to understand.
i could read Teen Vogue and relate to every word,
i was a woman.

no one told me that it was now okay.
it was now okay for men to comment
on my new chest.
it was now okay for boys to yell their
tube sock dreams of my wider hips.
no longer protected by the shield of childhood,
it was now okay.

while i experienced many new things
after that first visit from Aunt Flow,
i also began to feel things i had not felt before.
an unexplained, unwarranted hatred of
the body i lived in,
my burden of anxiety heightened
with raging hormones in my blood,
mood swings worsening the monster
living under my brain named depression.
red spots on my face that boys liked to make fun of
as if their faces were not acne warzones themselves.
another growth spurt, as if i was not already towering
above the other girls in my class.

“don’t let anyone see your pad when you go to the bathroom to change,”
my friend whispered to me at school,
“it’s inappropriate.”
“don’t say period in front of boys,
it’s gross.”
“don’t talk about puberty,
boys think it’s unattractive.”

suddenly i realized that my body
was not for myself
and it was my responsibility
to act like I didn’t feel like there were
earthquakes in my ******.
it was my responsibility to hide my new body,
because my education was not as important
as the pervy boys in my math class.
it was my responsibility to not bleed through
my new jeans,
and miss class because i’m crying in the
bathroom as i call my mother to bring me
a change of clothes.

because being a woman is unattractive,
but when she’s half naked on the cover of ******* we like it.
because spreading your legs open for a ******
is gross,
but when a man is in between them it’s hot.
because a woman’s body was never for women,
unless it’s ****** and crampy,
then we don’t want to hear about it.

i am here to say that Womanhood is for women.
i am here to say that young girls should take pride
in their new bodies.
your body is yours and no one else’s
and you should never feel ashamed of it.
you should never feel shame
when the crimson wave comes.
Emily Rowe Apr 2018
so im laying in bed, right?
and it’s like 7 am and
i had totally told myself i was going for a run
i instead laid in bed, until exactly 9:27 am,
giving me 33 minutes to be
out of my dorm and on my way to class.
for nearly two and a half hours
a large blue beast named Depression
sat on my chest,
and smiled a big sharp grin.
he lit his cigarette and said
“It’s all pointless, you know,”
he took a long drag
and blew the smoke on my face.
Anxiety is dancing around the room
laughing maniacally
her hands shaking as she reorganizes
the same shelf for the seventh time.
he shares his cigarette with her
and I think they’re the ugliest couple i’ve ever seen.
he readjusts on my chest,
and starts to list the things that i need to do but can’t.
Anxiety starts listing the things that could go wrong today
and tomorrow, and the next day, and the next day—

when I get back from class
Anxiety will jump me
her long nails digging into my arms
the overwhelming feeling of death
surging through my veins
i struggle to breathe
i struggle to lower my heart rate--

there is a toxic relationship
living inside of my brain.
and i am so tired of being a third wheel.

e.g. rowe
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