Peer Review by annacatherine (Australia)

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never forget

By: akhila78

the girl with sea foam fingers writes letters
on napkins left on beaches like loose change,
words stumbling down staircases of five-seven-five haikus
-- i want an ocean,
the one mama whispers of,
when she eats, sleeps, prays--
she ties them to the webbed foot of a seagull,
sends it off to the governor--
“the tide is coming.”
he laughs, the kind of laugh that corrodes,
shoos the seagull -- lulls it to sleep with plastic wrappers and bottles --
throws the napkin away to land up exactly where the girl found it,
dips his pen into the seagull’s carcass to sign a bill
for a factory to dump their industrial waste into the ocean
-- man made trashcan.

The girl’s eyes are seismic; the world shifts.

It’s 1972,
the year oysters pearl, fish jump, and crabs claw;
the girl trades her haikus for ballads, her flat chest
for fruit cup breasts, their apathy for her unrest
the sailors; they call her a woman.
she gargles the sea in her mouth to remember why she's fighting,
pulls trash left on beaches and from washed up animal carnage,
dumps it on the governor's desk--
“the tide is here.”
chants reduce, reuse, and recycle outside the homes of oil-guzzling men,
she leaks into classrooms, salt water ferments the walls,
teaches her children how to protect;
the world watches her,
until its eyes cataract,
teeth chip,
lips parch,
and ears burst.
And finally, it listens--
births the Marine Mammal Protection Act,
MPRSA, the ocean dumping act,
holds the UN Convention on the law of the sea--
All promises to defend.
she smiles,
whistles to the whoosh of the waves,
and shows her children how to protest --
The fight is not over.

It’s 2017,
where climate change is an alternative fact,
the ocean an afterthought instead of a forethought;
but it’s still her first thought.
her bones are soft like coral,
hair long like coast and gray like gravel,
voice throaty as a frog’s--
her battle ending,
the war still raging--
her children, we do not forget;
when our president pulls out of the Paris Agreement,
elects a denialist to run the EPA,
cuts its budget by thirty percent,
we grab conch shells and march on--
“the ocean is rising and so are we”--
she braids kelp through her hair,
washes her body with the sea,
tells us to never forget,
and we say we never will.


Peer Review

I love this poem because it truly captures my emotions about the pollution caused by us. This poem speaks to me, as well as billions of people around the world.

I honestly have no idea - your writing was so incredible, especially considering your use of imagery, similes and metaphors. If anything, I would have loved a few rhetorical questions, but that's just because I personally adore them! Don't sweat it though, this is great writing.

Some of my favourite lines are "the kind of laugh that corrodes," "The girl's eyes are seismic; the world shifts" and "their apathy for her unrest" because it really creates the mood of the poem and allows readers to connect to your writing through you ability to make sentences flow.

You are an amazing writer. I have no doubt that one day you will achieve your writing dreams, whether it be writing competitions, or writing your own novel. Never give up!

Reviewer Comments

Good luck for the competition!