The Fury Inside Me

By Prisca Afantchao
10th grade, Windsor High School, CT

With lines from "Ecuador's Crackdown on Abortion is Putting Women in Jail" by Zoë Carpenter, a Pulitzer Center reporting project

Call me body
holding something alien to me
a positive feedback loop
is feeding off of me like they all do

"She was raped by her aunt's husband and became pregnant" in her youth
Call her "Sara, a pseudonym"
to protect her from glaring eye
Call me commodity
another subject to law
subject to nurture or nature's call

Make me birth one I have no means to care for
Tell me to open my legs one second and close them the next
Cut the cord and cut me too
Hold my body to a knife and gift me life
then take what is left of mine

God forbid I try to save myself
when He has some other plan
surely not for me to bleed out in a basement
hanger in hand
or pills in mouth
for my daughter to be motherless because I wish not to bear another
A lawyer meets her, no longer a girl but "a tall woman with an upturned nose and honey colored eyes"
She advocates for Sara but no one hears

I am body in Hand of Powerful Man
She does not speak of the crime
"She said nothing of the drug she'd taken"
that had stunted the growth
of one she had not yet named
one who had not yet become but had become her crime
stopped herself from being a Hostess
from being Caregiver again

"The police came around midnight"
and she is to "serve a sentence of two years and eight months"
for not wanting to be Victim for nine months
at 38 years old 
feel the burden of profitable touch and be imprisoned for another's action 
feel the burden of only giving 
of being with men again and again

"The men of the left are very macho," says Guadalupe, the daughter of an abusive guerilla fighter
They fight for themselves
but do not let us fight for ourselves
"En la calle, Che. En la casa, Pinochet"
Men seize our bodies like land
and govern them with heavy hands

If the men are meant to be macho
let us be strong too
Let us lead
If we must let us revolt
Let our bodies be more than raw resources for the taking
Let our bodies speak let us scream

"Can you imagine the fury inside me?"
You will hear it ring
to obtain liberty to obtain freedom
Whether it be cacophony or symphony
you will hear it ring

Prisca Afantchao is a junior at Windsor High School. She is first generation Togolese American and has a passion for both social justice and literature. She hopes to use her writing to help create connections between readers and challenge them to think critically about the world around them.

Read more winning entries from the 2019 Fighting Words Poetry Contest