The Woman Inc.

Sakhi Awards First Prize

Winner of the first prize in the

Sakhi Awards 2018.

9DB14963-53F2-444C-92B5-9A9F88EDA66C

 

 

Green Thumb

By Matilda Berke

When you wake on the mornings when coffee
is not enough to stir the ashes in your stomach,
brew a misty carafe
& take the grounds out to the garden.
Every seed is welcome here, each layer of leaf a gift,
each fruit wrapped in perfume.
Tubers grown plump on synthesis, we know
the value of serenity. To be woman is to be born with thorns,
to be walled in cellulose & defiance,
to be hardy, to be buried & survive.
Scorched earth is a stranger to allegiance
& no matter who pulls the trigger,
pale green things always end up caught in the crosshairs
with fresh sparks running through our veins like sap,
poised & ready for the sky to ignite.
We’ve learned the fact of living as resistance.
We are sunspots springing up in sidewalk cracks,
roots deep & damp & tangled in rocky substrate. We are always healing,
over & over & over again —
there’s a reason dandelions burst with medicine. Any weed worth its salt
has learned to handle spiteful ground
but we flower best with a little tenderness.
So stretch your toes into the soil;
there is room to grow here,
there is good clay & loam & chamomile
& the firmament will leave you watered.
All this light & birdsong is for you,
a balm on wind-chapped leaves
in frostbite & smothering drought.
When the world throws us winter we become our garden beds,
the hardiest blooms this earth has known.
There has been enough war waged against us
to fill a litany of herbicide: dioxin & steel-toed boots
& locust swarms & trampled shoots,
those who look at us like fuel for their own burning. & yet
in all those days of degradation,
no man has ever stood in the way of spring.

***

 

 

 

Matilda Berke has been recognized by YoungArts, the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, the L.A. Tomorrow Prize, the Molotov Cocktail’s Shadow Award, & the L.A. Youth Poet Laureate competition, among others. She will be double majoring in English & Economics at Wellesley College; in her free time, she hopes to take up sailing & read as many books as possible. Find more of her writing at Pedestal Magazine, Up the Staircase Quarterly, & http://matildaberke.weebly.com/.

 

 

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This entry was posted on March 9, 2018 by .
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