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Erika Meitner reads her poem, "I’ll Remember You as You Were, Not as What You’ll Become".


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My name is Erika Meitner, and the poem I'm going to read for you is called "I'll Remember You as You Were, Not as What You'll Become". And the title of the piece comes from a piece of video art that I encountered at the 2017 Whitney Biennial, by Native American visual artist Sky Hopinka. And the poem itself was inspired by my participation in the 2017 Women's March on Washington. So this is a protest poem, and I think it's still pretty relevant today.

I'll Remember You as You Were, Not as What You'll Become

If you are fearful, America,
I can tell you I am too. I worry
about my body—the way, lately,
it marches itself over curbs and 
barriers, lingers in the streets 
as a form of resistance.

The streets belong to no one
and everyone and are a guide
for motion, but we are so numerous
there is no pavement left on which to 
release our bodies, like a river spilling
over a dam, so instead my body
thrums next to yours in place.

When we stop traffic or hold
hands to form a human chain,
we become a neon OPEN sign
singing into the night miles from
home when the only home left
is memory, your body, my body,
our scars, the dark punctuated
with the dying light of stars.