From the moment my lungs 

took notice of the smog-filled air 

I heard my older sister saying, “Words have power.” 

I wanted to believe. 

That, when I mixed a piece of 

my breath with a few syllables, I 

could change something

Not everything,

just something - 

even if it was as simple as the way my English teacher spoke to her students

To make her inspire them to be braver 

instead of trying to prove that she was smarter


I didn’t believe my sister’s eyes, 

begging me to remember that every 

sound my mouth made could influence - 

but I remember 

how my bones have been shaped by every word

my father said -

or didn’t say 


I knew that the intonations of one’s breath 

held sway on this world’s heartbeat 

the day my best friend was transformed from a 

beauty to a 

broken-down, shattered


the battle wounds in her eyes 

begged me to reconstruct her belief in mankind 


I tried. 



for all my hope-ridden words, 

I could not make this fucked up so-called society 

seem any less innocent or clean 


In that moment, 

My words had no power 

over the aperture of her eyes

of her heart


So I simply held her close

and let the movements of my soul 

guide her on. 



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