JM Prescott’s I Dare You: Painting Challenge

JM Prescott’s Untitled Rwanda Painting

From JM Prescott’s Website:

Imagine this painting is the cover of your flash or poem. I promise there is no right answer. Tell me this woman’s story in 400-600 words.
I Dare You!
I believe I got an honorable mention.
My response was both inspired by JM Prescott’s painting and by the book I’m currently reading entitled “Half the Sky,” by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl Wudunn, a book about women as second class citizens around the world. I’m not finished, but I highly recommend the book for anyone interested in women’s rights.
The poem is entitled “brother” and it is based on the above painting “untitled Rwanda painting.”

brother

brother, you thought if you sent me daily
on a two hour walk
to get our portion of food
that i would forget about my thirst.

you believed i was weaker
so i should walk the distance
and back,
prepare the meal
and serve it to you first.

you believed my mind useless,
education wasted on me,
so you went to school
while i starved for knowledge.

you wasted what was given to you
and while you copied your friends answers
by candlelight, i mended their outfits
sewing skillfully in payment
for your laziness.

but little do you know brother,
that on my long walks for grain
she spotted me in line
and asked me what i dreamed,
what i wanted.

to learn, to grow
to bring change to my little village,
to be master of my own life
not cast out as soon as you trade me
to become someone’s wife.

brother, you thought if you sent me daily
on a 2 hour walk
to get our portion of food
that i would forget about my thirst.

instead, i stay a little longer,
for an extra hour daily i am taught to read
in exchange for the little handbags i make
with the extra light from your candles.

soon i will get a stand in the market,
selling my handbags to make my own life,
one that will not be traded
to someone for your convenience.

i will continue to grow
and satisfy my thirst.
one day with her help,
i will create a place where
a girl’s thirst will never be ignored.

One thought on “JM Prescott’s I Dare You: Painting Challenge

  1. This poem was beautiful, I'm so glad you chose to post it. I'm glad that both you and Mike Handley (today's post: Someone For Everyone) wrote the woman in this painting as strong and real. I wanted that for her. Thank you for sharing this with me.

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