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Poets Corner: By The Time We Are Seven by Nayyirah Waheed

i will crawl for white beauty.

eat my arms.

barter my legs

(make my thighs into altars of grief).

for skin that does not drink night.

hair that is not angry.

body that is not soil.

i place curses on my flesh call them diets.

tell my ancestors they are ugly.

howl at my nose until it bleeds.

run my heart across my teeth,


i am dying.

to be beautiful.

but beautiful.

is something.

i will never be.

– by the time we are seven

waheed, nayyirah. salt.

Art by Elly Smallwood ©


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