By Cheryl Johnston
Honorable Mention, Poetry, Create | Encounter 2023
I look to the stars for the peace I am seeking
As I wander lost through the night,
Listening close for the voice of the heavens
Transmitted in twinkling light.
I ask them: “Dear stars, can you tell me the secret
Of turning cold glass into skin?
Long have I lain here, a thing not yet human,
Made jagged and hollow and thin.”
The stars give no answer, and seeing their beauty
Bestows no new warmth on my bones,
Yet under the glass I can feel my blood running
Like water brought forth from dead stones.
This is a poem about encountering one’s own humanity. As a neurodivergent woman, I often find myself angry at the dehumanization of others while simultaneously seeing myself only as someone who hopes to be human or who is striving towards humanity. This poem is a counter-argument to this mentality. Its core message is that being human comes not from any action or way of relating with the world, but from the simple fact of existing as a human being.