Prize Poetry

A Walk In My Shoes

by a young man, age 13

WALK ONE MILE IN MY SHOES

I want you to walk one mile,
Just one, in my shoes.
I want you to see how you can hurt me,
I want you to see what goes on behind my masks.
 
I want you to know what it’s like
When a person is forgotten
When a person is cast aside like rotten food.
 
I want you to know how I feel
When I’m treated like a contagious disease
when I’m thought of as a lesser form of a human being.
 
I want you to understand my pain
When people think it’s funny to call me a “faggot”
When people are so ignorant that they think
That a side-effect of being gay is also being deaf
Thinking I can’t hear the insults thrown at me from behind.
 
I want you to walk one mile,
Just one, in my shoes.
I want you to see what happens
When I pick myself up.
I want you to see the beauty in my life.
 
I want you to know how I express myself.
I express myself as confident, caring, kind and opinionated.
My words are like advocates for those who don’t have the help I have.
These words are like the lightning during a storm: bright and mighty.
 
I want you to know what I am capable of.
My strength is like that of one who speaks out in the midst of conformity,
Like that of one fighting for what he believes in,
Like one who truly believes that change can happen.
 
I want you to know my heart.
My love is important to me and others.
My love is no different than that of a heterosexual.
My love is like any other love there is: beautiful and strong,
Which cannot be contained.
 
I want you to walk one mile,
Just one in my shoes.