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Poem: Ode to Fearless Women

(Photo illustration by Anya Thakur)

“Ode to Fearless Women” is a poem written by 14-year-old poet and women’s advocate Anya Thakur. She works to empower and uplift communities as founder of GirlUp Dallas, a UN Women organization, and a MetoWe partner with ArtRising, which provides arts enrichment to underprivileged communities and creates diverse programming for South and East Asian women. Hosting education, self-defense, and language and literature classes to empower rural women in Delhi, Mumbai, and Munipur, and humanitarian efforts with Myna Mahila, which empowers women in rural India through health education, her women’s advocacy promotes UN Women’s mission to ensure a fair and equitable future, and she has traveled throughout the United States and India to speak for girl’s education and empowerment.

Ode to Fearless Women

– morning

she lifted her nose towards the sky to feel sunlight tickle her face and trickle in drips of molten gold down her neck and onto her chest.

smiled at the clouds as her hair fell backwards onto her shoulders in waves of chocolate and her body strained upwards in a silent wish and fingers curled in anticipation.

then the sky exploded onto her in bursts of fire, showers of sparks and sulphur raining down and complicating the city.

eyes like a delicate film of chlorophyll flashed yellow and gold as she turned to pure wonder anchored only by flesh and bone.

– night

the tube lights of the nightmarket aglow in a neon pastiche spelled out enticing things, but flickered to black as the fireworks finally faded away.

and her eyes still burned in the darkness.

– once upon a time

the yangtze river was flowing red under unsettled skies, the heads of baby girls bobbing in the water like discarded pearls ripped from tiered chokers and tossed to the night.

a woman laid out tureens of rich orange curry and dips of lemon, sizzling chicken dusted with flakes of gold, and retreated to hover in the background, pulling her daughter to her.

yet the girl stood strong, until finally her father guided her out to sit beside him, beside her brother, beside her uncle as. an. equal. the table shook when she stood and claimed her place.

– daybreak

she throws her body into the day, skin immediately awash with early sunlight as she steps outside to airy climes, and her fingertips fizzle and tingle gently with electricity.

the sky stretches itself out above her in large swaths of blue and grey as the women of the past wink down at her in too bright gleams of stars that are almost invisible in the light. the fireworks are inside of her now.

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