The First Protest

They are used to her tantrums: head flung on the lap

of a supermarket trolley, one lollipop away from submission.


They are, in fact, expecting some form of violent refusal: a bite back

perhaps, or a wail – anticipating the necessity of coercion.


But this time, she is still: unmoving and unwavering.


Tongue imitating the first kick; throat clearing space for pent up

air; mouth growing bigger and rounder and louder, rising in solidarity


with sound, in defiance against silence, reaching completion

in the single syllable protest poem: ‘No’ –


that is to say stop, that is to say enough, that is to say

yes – I am here and I will be heard.

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