no

“the first word I teach my daughter will be “no”
she will sing it to me and scream it at me
and I will never tell her to quiet down
she will say it when I tell her to go to bed
when I tell her she can’t have anymore candy
or watch anymore television
“no” will be my daughter’s favorite word
not only will I teach her how to say it
but I will teach her to repeat it over and over
again until every single atom in her tiny little body
hums with it
If it makes her less soft than the other girls
I will take her to museums and show her
what marble and stone can become
I will brush her hair and let her wear whatever
she wants
whatever that makes her
she will know
that the world has been built upon “no’s”
upon rejections and refusals and swords
if this makes her a warrior in a field of
flowers, then she will walk without fear
of being trampled on
the first word I teach my daughter will be
“no”
and when she grows up
in a world that tells her
she can’t walk down the street by herself
that “no” will be heard
it will roar and echo down the block
and she will never be told to keep
silent
she will not know the meaning of the word.”

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