Sunday, July 23, 2017

To London, on Her 13th Birthday

To London, on Her 13th Birthday
Sunday, July 23, 2017
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She’s a city by the Strand.

On Christmas Eve she promised me Berlin
tied up with a perfect bow,
“Just as soon as I conquer the world.”
She was twelve then.

A page turns. Adolescence rears its ugly head,
The tides roll back against the sand,
Swapping water for blood.

She’s a city under attack.

Saxons pillage her.
Vikings set her ablaze.
Pubescent boys in soccer shorts knock at her gate.
"A huff and a puff and I’ll blow your house down!"
But surrender, and the terrorists win.

She’s a city between beach and shore.

She pinches skin and calls it fat,
And wears the war paint of other girls.
“It’s easier just to blend in,” she says.
She no longer promises Berlin.

She is thirteen now and night is setting in,
But the waves still crash against the cliffs,
And with one ear pressed against the moon,
Her battle cry rings loud and clear:

“London, London, city by the Strand,
Look ahead; this turmoil will pass,
And you will carve your own path,
Like the many fortresses of women before you.”


—Erin Passons, 7-2017
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