By Zina Parker
8th grade, North Branch School, VA

With lines from "Ballet and Bullets: Dancing out of the Favela" by Frederick Bernas and Rayan Hindi, a Pulitzer Center reporting project

in the atmosphere,
cutting short
a flourishing career.

Without letting her head drop,
she continues on.

She’s caught in
crossfire confrontations
and motivation
are stronger than uncertainty.

The chronic crisis of opportunity
comes knocking,
but hope trickles
into the minds
of those faced with violence.

they have a better chance
of learning to dance
through the bitter cycle
of hardship.

Zina is a recent graduate of North Branch School, in Afton, VA, and a rising 9th grader at the Renaissance School in Charlottesville, VA. She dances, writes poetry, plays guitar, and sings. She is passionate about climate change activism and loves learning and researching about current issues in the world. Zina finds poetry to be an effective way of expressing emotion or to clear ones mind. Zina has loved poetry since she was little and was delighted to be a finalist in the Fighting Words Poetry Contest!

Read more winning entries from the 2021 Fighting Words Poetry Contest.