the poet x

The Poet X

Elizabeth Acevedo

Review by: Olubunmi

Hands heavy with rage broke

away to write words full of

fire and power. She escaped Mass
and confirmation class to fill the page
and her heart with what she could not
say aloud. She had walked through her life
with fire dormant in her system. Her eyes full
of unshed tears. Her mouth full of the
unspoken, until she found spoken word.
Her broken heart began to mend as she
raced though streets with a boy she trusted.
She gave her heart away, and when it returned to her broken
she put it on a page. Let the words turn to fire.
She spoke with her fists all her life, for every
name she was called for her body she wanted
to hide from. She was big and curvy,
and angry. She’d hit you. She’d hit anyone for her
brother. Her twin. She learned to fight every name
she had been called, every wolf whistle that came
her way. She smacked the life out of it with heavy hands,
until she learned to hit with words.
Spoken low in a dim room with a broken heart.
Spoken loud among a crowd.
Among burning books and screaming parents who do
not approve of what is “unholy”. She spoke loud for her
brother. Spoke loud for herself. She learned to
speak with fire on her tongue. A poem etched in tears
and smiles. She learned to write poetry, and become
The Poet X
About The Poet X: Xiomara Batista feels unheard and unable to hide in her Harlem neighborhood. Ever since her body grew into curves, she has learned to let her fists and her fierceness do the talking.

But Xiomara has plenty she wants to say, and she pours all her frustration and passion onto the pages of a leather notebook, reciting the words to herself like prayers–especially after she catches feelings for a boy in her bio class named Aman, who her family can never know about.

With Mami’s determination to force her daughter to obey the laws of the church, Xiomara understands that her thoughts are best kept to herself. So when she is invited to join her school’s slam poetry club, she doesn’t know how she could ever attend without her mami finding out. But she still can’t stop thinking about performing her poems.

Because in the face of a world that may not want to hear her, Xiomara refuses to be silent.