Asking For Permission: Poetry

You stand on the corner of
her neighborhood
that you and your fathers
have claimed is yours.
She breaks into a sweat
– from the heat, not from you or your weapons,
nor from the smell of tear gas-
and she doesn’t want to ask permission.
But your stare is asking her
to ask.
Ask to cross,
to turn around and walk,
to come and go,
to pick something up and leave,
to leave.
You want her to leave.

She didn’t ask to be born,
to grow alive,
but she will spend the rest of her life
asking:
to come and go,
to dream,
to be,
to pray,
to cry,
to laugh,
to come and go,
to dream,
to be,
to leave,
to stay.
She never thought she’d have
to ask permission
to live.

She passes you,
without asking.
And she cracks a smile
because she saw your eyes asking
who she thinks she is
for not asking permission
this one time?

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