Language Changes

Language Changes
by Emily Henderson

Words lose meaning
when shoveled through
processes encompassing time, transforming

ACTIVIST

 into a word the current administration
can deconstruct. To him, it is
a label to slap
upon fragile identities. All we must do
to receive it is survive and respect ourselves,

speak on issues
of autonomy and life. Yes, through this,
we earn this token:  Activist.

Branded by peers and expected
to speak for an entire community,
an activist does not choose that which
labels her. She adopts it
in the forced fight of enfranchisement.

The appropriation and accessibility of the phrase
lodges dysphoria in the chest cavity and clings
much too tightly
to the flesh, to the biography
of marginalized identities, requiring them
to do more work than the rest.

A term that has been more reductive
than progressive leads
to none other than a dead end.

activist
That word may have been applicable
to myself before, but language
changes and maybe
it is not my word anymore.

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