This poem is the third-prize winner in the Golden Shovel challenge on Young Poets Network (YPN), judged by Peter Kahn. A Golden Shovel poem uses a phrase from a pre-existing text to make up the end-words for each of its lines. Find out more about the Golden Shovel form here.

Brown girls’ anthem

by Fathima Zahra

A Golden Shovel after ‘Call Me by Your Name’ by André Aciman

We die so many deaths before we turn twenty. We,
the schoolyard Kardashians. We sew our stories, rip
them out as the schoolbus pulls up at our door. We out
cast our vile tongues so the aunties won’t. Scrape it so
they won’t know where to look for nipped buds. So much
is lost in undoing shame. Before we learned glory, we talked of
our love lives to walls. History didn’t erase us. We managed ourselves.

The Poetry Society was founded in 1909 to promote “a more general recognition and appreciation of poetry”.  Since then, it has grown into one of Britain’s most dynamic arts organisations, representing British poetry both nationally and internationally.  Today it has more than 4000 members worldwide and publishes The Poetry Review.

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