The Writing Prompt

This poem includes bits and pieces of true stories that some of my former students wrote about for an essay assignment. The names have been changed.

I asked them to write of a time they were afraid,
but the horrors I read made me more than ashamed.
These babies, my students, their souls locked in chains,
wrote of the sorrow,  hid behind smiles, heavy as weights.


Renae became a woman when she was just eight.
A willow wisp of girl who could not retaliate now
fights the world with indiscriminate hate, while
her mind loops the memory of the night of her rape.

Adam's mother would sleep with men in dark alleys
and force Adam to hide it from his drunken step-daddy.
Adam was large, all of his friends called him fatty.
He couldn't run from the blows,  just braced and got ready.

Chaz became the man of the house at the age of thirteen
when his aunt stabbed his daddy,  a man of the street.
Now, Chaz, like his father, peddles weed for his dreams, 
says he'll be a lawyer, although he's never learned to read.

Malik had hundreds of scars from thousands of licks
that he got from his uncle whose temper was quick.
Malik's older sister grew tired of taking the stick,
shot their uncle in the head at the family picnic.

I asked them to write of a time they were afraid, and
with the stories they wrote, released a bit of their shame.
These babies, my students, their souls locked in chains,
knew, if for only for a moment, they were never to blame.

The End

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