by Leahnora Castillo
From the moment I wrapped my first ballet skirt around myself
And twirled imaginary
On the slick, black gnarley dance floor
I knew one thing was real:
I fell in love with you.
A love so deep I knew to give you my all.
From my mind and body.
To my spirit and soul.
As a three-year-old little girl
Deeply in love with you
I never saw the end of the tunnel.
I only saw myself dancing out of one.
And so I danced.
I danced and I’ll keep dancing
Up and down, side to side, front to back
Across every dance floor after you.
You asked for my hustle
I gave you my heart
Because you come with so much more.
I’ve danced through the blood, sweat, and tears Maybe not enough, but I have already
And I’ll continue to do just that.
Not because I like the challenge
But because of you.
Because that’s what you do
When someone makes you feel as
Alive as you make me.
You have given a three-year-old little girl a dream to always follow
And I’ll always love you for that.
But I’m not going to stop till I achieve it.
The aching of my joints and soreness of my muscles?
My body can take it.
The grind? The Mamba Mentality?
My mind can handle it.
But most importantly, the passion?
The passion has always been in my heart.
So this isn’t goodbye, not even close.
I’m not ready to let you go.
I want you to know that now
We are only getting started.
And we both know, no matter what
I’ll always be that kid
On the side of the stage
Waiting in the wings
5 counts before making my debut
5, 6, 7, 8
With love always,
This 1-minute video lets you share and explain to your friends and family how POPS the Club cultivates an inclusive space for youth who have been stigmatized and silenced by their experiences with the carceral system. Our clubs build positive self-identity through peer and adult support and understanding fostered by shared experiences. We empower students to achieve their full potential by creating a loving community and encouraging self-expression. — Tracy Harper
Dear Friends, POPS’ upcoming anthology will officially be published on April 15, 2022, by www.outofthewoodspress.com.
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