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"Telling" is used with the permission of Laura Hershey. For more information about Laura's poetry and other writing, go to her website.

What you risk telling your story:

You will bore them.

Your voice will break, your ink will

spill and stain your coat.

No one will understand, their eyes

become fences.

You will park yourself forever

on the outside, your differentness once

and for all revealed, dangerous,

the names you give to yourself

will become epithets.

Your happiness will be called

bravery, denial.

Your sadness will justify their pity.

Your fear will magnify their fears.

Everything you say will prove something about

their god, or their economic system.

Your feelings, that change day

to day, kaleidoscopic,

will freeze in place,

brand you forever,

justify anything they decide to do

with you.

Those with power can afford

to tell their story

or not.

Those without power

risk everything to tell their story

and must.

Someone, somewhere

will hear your story and decide to fight,

to live and refuse compromise.

Someone else will tell

her own story,

risking everything.

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Last updated on Friday, December 9, 2011.

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