The poems in our ongoing “Liberating Words” series were written in an interdisciplinary course for high school juniors at The Winsor School, an all-girls school in Boston, Mass. The course, “The Personal Is Political: An Interdisciplinary Look at Feminism,” is co-taught by Libby Parsley, a History teacher, and Susanna Ryan, an English teacher. The second unit of the course focuses on the history and literature of second-wave feminism—the women’s liberation movement of the 1960’s and 70’s. Students read a compilation of poems by women writers from that period and then wrote their own poems; the assignment asked them to represent an issue or problem they see as central to 21st-century women’s experience through the very personal genre of poetry.
by Emma Specht
Two girls walk down the street.
Alone for the first time in their lives but they feel safe side by side
Going to lunch or the mall.
Idle words float out of their mouths, meaningless, soft, drift away like dandelion puff.
The sun shines. A Sunday, a summer day.
Perhaps they’ll go to a store afterward.
He leans in, a cloud covers the sun.
i just wanted to let you know you’re beautiful
i can’t believe your parents would let you out alone
the words are casually spoken, unimportant
he is “complimenting” them
he continues on, humming
unaware of the freezing wake he leaves.
the girls walk closer together, and hustle to the train.
Meaningless to him, the words drift away like dandelion puff.
Emma Specht is sixteen years old and lives in Boston with her parents, two sisters and brother. She loves dancing ballet and reading anything at all.