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~for Malala Yousafzai

Who is this child with the voice of a storm,
sent to face death and turn it into a hurricane,
changing the fist of the desert into an open palm?

Who is this child placing books like shields
in the hands of women, eclipsing the silence
of black gun barrels like mouths stuffed with fire?

She smiles. She makes herself a target.
She shows the oppressed that knowledge
is the atom bomb in a war of water pistols.

She speaks and the warlords shutter their windows,
cower in the halls with their hands over their ears,
these terrorists afraid of shadows and thunder.

Who is this woman so brave, she stands alone
in the path of a Jihad, a holy battle waged
against human rights like an assault on daylight.

Who is this woman, turning herself into a sun?
This woman, her words like comets,
shooting stars for the abandoned to wish upon,

she is the song in the throat of the wingless.
She is the prayer on the lips of the faithless.
She is mother to the orphaned.

Malala is bravery waving hello,
a raised hand faced palm out
to show that even a desert has a lifeline.

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