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winning submissions & honorable mention pieces

Honorable Mention: Thoughts Over a Cup of Coffee

October 22, 2017

Guaranteed, guaranteed—
they say nothing in this life is a guarantee.
They tell me not to worry.
They say Emily, Emily, you’re free! 
              You. Are. FREE.
Don’t you get it? 
              Isn’t it catchy? 
                          Isn’t it pretty?

They tell me not to worry.
This procedure will help me to stay me—
         to be free from the patriarchy,
in case cells start to clump, rather inconveniently.
         Free, double-checked, and guaranteed.

So now I’m grateful? 
          Empowered? 
                      Relieved? 
Knowing now that not only is nothing in this life a guarantee,
but the world has the real capability
               to prevent life itself from continuing to be?

Seems like a rather large fee
                                              for autonomy.
Seems like a cold industry
                                           using me as their factory.

I pause to watch a little girl waddle through the door,
              clinging to her father’s hand,
                        radiating innocence, smiling brilliantly.

And I start to wonder—if I were to get down on my knee,
         and tell her about the world I see,
                      would she agree?

would she think she were inherently free? a

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@2017 by Aimee Murphy and Encounter Youniverse project collaborators.