a letter to my sister / Poetry by Maggie Wilkinson

Illustrated by Martha Crosbie

Illustrated by Martha Crosbie

Maggie Wilkinson is a sixteen-year-old poet and self-published author currently residing in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Her second poetry collection, 'High Waisted', came out in January of this year, and was also a 2018 Youngarts merit winner in writing - spoken word. She has been writing poetry for little over three years and falls more in love with it every day.

girl, woman kicks back the earth & swallows it in one shot

the aftertaste is copper, iron, metal in the mouth of the beast


girl, woman is beast

woman is bared teeth

woman is sick of this


this, this war

woman is white flag

& the world does not notice

& the war keeps an eye out


girl, woman has been stared through too many times to not feel it coming

woman feels it coming

girl, feel it

do not back away because that is what it wants


it wants you, girl

wants new girl

wants just one thing that isn’t stained

this earth is stained, girl

girl, do not mistake this for mother earth

no mother is destruction like this

mother is not destruction

mother is nurture, girl


girl, know nurture

know when someone is looking to help

know the sound that a drop of water makes falling into an empty jar

know when the jar is empty you will feel it

you can fill it, girl


just one breath of yours is electricity

& you will light every light on this side of new york when you speak

there is no limit to what you can do

just a limit on what you can do alone


I was like you once

I was must-do once

I was questions once

I was hope once

once, hope was me

hope and I got our medicine from the same pharmacy, only

my bottles were larger

& her eyes were bluer

& she made eye contact with the pharmacist & told her thank you

said she couldn’t do it without you

& when I stepped up to the counter

I made eye contact with myself & it felt

like my heart fell through my whole body to hit the floor


I’ve been there, girl

some days I wake up & it feels like I am a parasite in the host of this body

& some days I just keep dreaming


dream, girl

because one day you will wake up & things will be like you always hoped they would be

but only if you’re willing to sweat & bleed

& crack & twist & burn to make it happen

this world will give you all the good it’s been hiding if you give it your all


if your all has a hundred voices

and two hundred mouths

and more feet than needed to keep upright

something needs to get done around here, girl


something will have your fingerprints on it & that will be good


good will be a household name in the home you will make

& every house on this side of new york will wake up happy

if you’re willing to fight

if you’re willing to look fear in the face & tell him he does not own you


girl, do you know what is coming for you?

do you know the way back home?

do you know who home is?

do you know how to tell if the time has come to riot?

& if it is time

do you know how to stand up?

Words by Maggie Wilkinson

Image by @marthacrosb

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