Aimee Godfrey, etymology of prejudice

etymology of prejudice

(After an article in The New York Times, June 9th, 2020)

burden (noun): a load, typically a heavy one

I can’t help but think
that this is a fear I was born with,
twenty-five in a nursing home,
locked up like a pet or a criminal
or a child,
with no one to claim
the inconvenience of me,
because I’m not owed
the humanity that
love might afford me.

burden (noun): a duty or misfortune that causes worry, distress or hardship

Which means my gratitude
for the touch of strange men
is an apology
that translates itself to foreplay
in untrained ears.
this is not what love looks like,
but it’s the best I can hope for,
isn’t it?
because the way I walk
is as good a reason as any.

burden (noun): the refrain or chorus of a song

so, if you’re going to call me burden,
call me the heartbeat of a forgotten anthem,
born from the languages
of those whose silence
you have profited from
since time immemorial.
this is not the virginia state colony,
and I will not be put away for comfort’s sake.
I will take my love and sing my love
into the earth and sky, where my love will bloom in public.

Aimee Godfrey is a disabled undergraduate student at NUI Galway but lives in Limerick. She has been studying under Elaine Feeney. Her poetry focuses primarily on themes surrounding disability and its impact on other subjects. She is working on her first collection.

Read more of Aimee here.

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