This is for us \nby ELIZABETH ACEVEDO\nThis is for us writers, us readers, us girls\nwho never saw ourselves on bookshelves,\nbut still wrote poems when we talked.\n& we been called teeth-sucking of snapping eyes\nborn bitter brittle of tangled tongues\nsandpaper that\u2019s been origamied into girls. \nNot worthy of being the hero nor the author.\nBut we were always Medusa\u2019s favorite daughters.\nOf serpent curls, of hard-eye looks.\nDreaming in the foreshadows: we composed ourselves. \nSince childhood, taking pens to palms\nas if we could rewrite the stanzas of lifelines\nthat tried to tell us we would never amount to much. \nAnd when we were relegated to the margins:\nWe still danced bachata in the footnotes,\nwe still strong armed the gate-keepers,\nwe still clawed our way onto the covers.\nBrought our full selves to the page: our every color palate\nand bouquet of pansies, of gold hoops, of these here hips\n& smart-ass quips & popping bubblegum kisses. \t\nUs girls, who never saw ourselves on bookshelves,\nbut were still writing tales in the dark.\nUs brown girls: Brick-built:\nMasters of every metaphor and every metamorphosis:\ncatch us with fresh manicures\nnail-filing down obsidian stones and painstakingly polishing our own\nmirrors & stories into existence.\n \nELIABETH ACEVEDO: This poem that I read for you all was my thinking through, what does it mean to be someone who maybe didn’t grow up with a mirror and wanting to create that now, to see your reflection and also show kids who might look like you, like, hey, we’re here.\nIt’s very much thinking about those of us who wrote even when we didn’t see ourselves as main characters and for those of us who are writing now, who hopefully will come forward with more examples, but who are also going to carry the torch of saying, our stories are just as important as any other stories.\nI think a lot about the movements that are happening right now in terms of MeToo and TimesUp. We are going to shift the status quo, shift the way that women have been treated for so long.\nAnd I just hope that the shift always remembers women of color and poor women and disenfranchised women who maybe may not have the loudest microphone in front of them. And I hope that those of us who may not be that loud are still, like, thought of and remembered and passed the mic.\nMy name is Elizabeth Acevedo, and this is my Brief But Spectacular take on seeing you.