Our Response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Outbreak

As a precaution to help limit the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) and care for our community, Just Buffalo Literary Center has postponed a number of events, and we will follow the guidance of Buffalo Public Schools in terms of Just Buffalo Writing Center programming.

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Emma DeRose reads her original poem at the virtual kickoff celebration for Erie County's Women's History Month programming

Youth Ambassador Emma reads at Women’s History Month kickoff event

JBWC Youth Ambassador Emma DeRose was invited to share her poem “a letter to sensitive girls” at Erie County’s Women’s History Month kickoff celebration on March 3, hosted by the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library. Congratulations, Emma!

a letter to sensitive girls

by Emma DeRose

little girl, little girl
more spirit than body
forever at the mercy of forces greater than yourself
don’t you know that bad things happen to those who keep good things inside?

i know you
from the way you trail the halls
limbs leaden
face plain and mild
you don’t cause a stir
you are fury itself
once risen from the ashes of your mother’s womb
naked entirely
until you learned to find solace in the shelter
of modest clothes
and simple habits
you cannot reclaim your past
instead you bury it

you open your heart to others
only to feel the raging clout of scorn and derision
tolling within your consciousness
seeping into your marrow with all the cunning of a snake
letting it bite you
constricting every airway
every thought
every thing

you seek healing
you seek kindness
until you found you’ve created a monster
from the heat of your anger
from the piercing fragments of every little lash and blow

you didn’t want to let life pass you by
you wanted to be it
you felt a calling deep inside
and you followed its trail
gilded and gleaming
filled with hummingbirds and blood
and you found yourself in a deep dark wood
that others claim you germinated
from the chaos of your mind
a mind you can never escape
a place you didn’t choose

so from the top of your lungs
you shout and you shout and you shout
because that is all you know how to do
because you believe that you can turn a stone into bread
bread crumbling from the cries of others like you
in eternal thanksgiving
giving giving giving back
forever amen

and oh how you raise them from the dead
oh how they join you in song
there’s such a symphony
and you feel every breath
and every string binding your very being
and every wave of sound roiling like a cataclysmic
and you know this is power
this is the power of feeling
this is the power of overthinking
this is the power of knowing you are weak
but with a single shout
you can raise an army

About Just Buffalo Writing Center

Just Buffalo Writing Center offers free, after-school creative writing workshops for young people ages 12-18. Spring 2021 programming is entirely virtual, and participation is open to students everywhere. Check out upcoming JBWC workshops.