By Lena Habtu
This poem was originally rooted in the pandemic and quarantine, but evolved into a piece on introspection, rumination, and growth.
i’ve grown weary of my lavender universe,
each wall its own galaxy
each artwork its own divine star
i’ve spent the last fifteen months
flitting between solar systems,
but it’s been too long,
and i’m homesick
i curl my graying corporeal form
into a cocoon of my own making
my lips kissing my knees as my arms hug my chest
and what does a butterfly do during metamorphosis?
in her cocoon, she sits, she meditates,
she jots down her musings on the world
and herself, on unlined pages
she memorizes her interior
and yearns for more
i emerge, slowly, assuredly,
a whole new woman, if you will.
in my rebirth, things have shifted
i no longer seek a great cosmic alignment,
i find solace in my placement, in my here and now
in my rebirth, i am
birthing with every droplet of water i pour
each sprout is a new lifeline
the water that pours from my fingertips,
like the first rains after a season-long drought
laying among my creations, i arch
my back and tilt my head towards
the sun, throw my arms
up in unabashed embrace
Taking Root: The Girls Write Now 2022 Anthology
For more than two years, our young writers have weathered an adolescence shaped by an ongoing global pandemic. But a harsh climate can also produce work of rare depth, complexity, nuance and humor. The Girls Write Now mentees in this collection have found new ways to build community and take root. This anthology is a catalog of seeds—each young writer cultivating a shimmering, emergent voice. In short stories, personal essays, poetry, and more, they reflect on life-altering topics like heartbreak, self-care and friendship. The result is a stunning book with global relevance of all this generation has endured and transformed.
My wonderful mentor and dear friend, Sammi, entered our weekly pair session with a prompt that asked me to write about various, seemingly unrelated aspects of my life, ranging from where I spent most of my time in quarantine, to rebirth, to aspects of the metaphysical world. I used metaphor to weave together these initially disparate motifs in a way that felt honest and true to my sense of self.
Lena Habtu, simply put, is a poet. She is passionate about advocacy and community organizing, but the outlet through which she processes and recounts lived experience has always been poetry. Her works have been recognized by the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards.