By Asa T. B.
6th grade, OH

With lines from ”‘It’s Not for the Faint-Hearted’: The Story of India’s Intrepid Women Seaweed Divers” by Kamala Thiagarajan, a Pulitzer Center reporting project

Women sit on a warm, sandy shore
With turquoise waters stretching as far as the eye can see
Just as they have done as long as they can remember
Following the example set by their fore-mothers

The woman prepare to dive
The seaweed is how they support their families
And their livelihood

As the surface of the water breaks
Making way for the seaweed divers
They enter another world
One not entirely free of danger

The women pluck seaweed from the mucky bottom
It is their way of life

Holding their breaths for nearly three minutes at a time
Constantly aware of their surroundings
In case of underwater monsters
That are lurking under rocks or behind aquatic plants

At the end of the day
The women return to the shore
Departing from the underwater world
That is nearly as familiar to them as the land

Knowing that they will return the next day
to the beautiful shore with the shining turquoise waters, to
Their life is not for the faint-hearted

Asa is a rising 7th grader in Ohio.

Read more winning entries from the 2023 Fighting Words Poetry Contest.