Trigger Warning: What Do You Know About Some Thirteen-Year-Olds?

Thirteen-year-olds
Talk back sometimes,
Because they recognize their own 
Humanity.
And they might want to speak up
For themselves
For their friend
For justice.

Thirteen-year-olds
Like Sprite sometimes,
Except when their 
Best friend
Says that Orange Crush
Is better
So they try to like that
For a while.

Thirteen-year-olds
Want to be brilliant—
And they are—
But don’t always want
To do their homework
Because . . .
Video games,
Snapchat,
Texting,
YouTube
Bike rides,
Stories,
Daydreaming,
Music,
And
Sleep.

Thirteen-year-olds
Still have
Legos,
Action figures,
Stuffed animals,
Special blankets,
Favorite Pillows.

Thirteen-year-olds
Have
Big brothers,
Big sisters,
Baby brothers,
Baby sisters,
Baby sitters,
Hopes,
Dreams,
Fears.

Thirteen-year-olds
Have grown-ups 
They look up to
And at least one
Who they want to
See smile.

Thirteen-year-olds are
Children,
Babies,
Minors, 
Kids—
Just dipping into the teens years
Last week they were
TwelveElevenTenNineEightSevenSixFiveFourThreeTwoOne
Just born
Infants.

Thirteen-year-olds
Are afraid of ghosts
And get crabby 
When they need sleep.

Thirteen-year-olds
Smile
When their favorite teacher 
Greets them in the hallway,
When they get their first phone,
When their mom is happy,
When they see dog memes
And hear corny jokes.

Thirteen-year-olds
Need 
Someone to 
Remind them 
To eat their veggies,
To turn off their devices,
To go to bed,
To say “Please” and “Thank you.”

Thirteen-year-olds
Need 
Someone
To buy their clothes,
To tuck them in,
To drive them to school
To say “I love you.”

Thirteen-year-olds
Play
Hide-n-seek,
Heads-up-Seven-Up,
Simon Says,
“Don’t run.”
Put your hands up.
I didn’t say Simon says,
You’re out.

Thirteen-year-olds
Can
Dissect a frog.
Write an essay,
Make a friend,
Give a speech,
Break a bone,
Play a sport,
Reduce a fraction,
Get shot and killed for 
running while Black.

3 responses to “Trigger Warning: What Do You Know About Some Thirteen-Year-Olds?

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