Ashley Alavarez

Do you know what it’s like?

Do you know what it is like

to hold someone so precious

so beautiful

so powerful

so important

and be unsure if your hands are enough

to protect the girl in your arms?

The first time I asked myself this question

I was seven years old;

it was the first time I held her.

She was six pounds, with not a hair on her head.

And I would sing her to sleep,

hide beneath her rocker,

cry when she cried,

do everything to make up for the feeling

that my hands were not enough.

They were not enough to make my baby sister happy.

They were not enough.

I am seventeen years old

and I know I cannot protect the women I hold.

I cannot protect my friends

from the microaggressions of our peers

from the ignorance of our teachers

from the off-hand comments that fall on our ears.

Worst of all, I cannot protect them

from them. 

I cannot protect them from the voices in their heads,

the voices that remind them

you can do better

you should eat less

you look fat in that sweater

you’ll never be the best.

I wish I was eloquent enough

to give you the poem you deserve.

Because ___, you are enough.

You are beautiful.

Your body, your soul, your energy 

your being is art.

From the outside in,

your beauty is not only within.

____, you are enough.

I’m sorry: my hands are not enough

but maybe my endless words will be enough

to prove to you that 




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