Throughout Women’s History Month, we’ll be celebrating the poets from Women of Resistance. Here first is Elizabeth Acevedo, from New York City, the only daughter of Dominican immigrants. She is a National Slam Champion, Beltway Grand Slam Champion, and the 2016 Women of the World Poetry Slam representative for Washington, D.C., where she lives and works.

An Open Letter to the Protesters Outside the Planned Parenthood Near My Job

who stuck a cross in my face and told me,
“abortions are the largest genocide of black people,
God won’t forgive you for having one”:

I’m not sure how I became the finger
to pull the trigger of your mouth.

That’s a lie. I know exactly what turned
my lunch break into a firing range

and why this clay pigeon of a body
attracted your aim—
Tell me more, how you care about
“this largest genocide of black people”

when I’ve never seen you and your signs
at a Black Lives Matter protest.

Tell me, did you mourn Tamir & Aiyana & Jordan,
as hard as you celebrated the shooting of a clinic in Colorado?

Do you know how often I’ve walked by
your markers, megaphones, and mantras?

Your pickets signs and prayers that you cock like pistols
as I clench half a millennium of horror between my teeth?
You don’t know my god.
You and mine          ain’t on speaking terms.

My god understands the choices black women
have needed to make in the face of genocide.

My god understands how slave women plucked pearls
from between their legs rather than see them strung up by the neck.
My god doesn’t condemn us who when faced with taking claim of our bodies
do so with our chins unchained to the ground.

My god understands how for generations bodies like mine
were the choice for someone like you to make.
Do you know how many years, women like me
lived equally afraid of both hangings and hangers?
Yet we’re still here, everyday carrying ourselves.


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