By Amelia Díaz Ettinger

when I was four, I knew how to say no
but not when to scream it

in an airconditioned room
no became silent

and it obeyed quietly, as my no
was his for the taking

when I was four, I learned words
were freely taken, and a child’s no

could carry no further than a sigh
so, I pretended it didn’t happen

and my no hid under beds—for decades
no one knew any better

today no has grown
and it no longer hides

its dragon breath
is mine for the taking

I can’t take its fire
back to that chilled room

but I can carry
its torch a little further

Amelia Díaz Ettinger is a published BIPOC poet and writer whose works appear in many literary journals and magazines. She currently has two books of poetry available and a chapbook.

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