It's not my right BRAZILIAN AUTHOR

Nina Goldfeld

I’ve been taught  
that people have rights.  
Some have more,  
some have less,
But all of us have something.
Certain things,  
some cannot do,
be it vote, drink,
or get a tattoo.
I’ve also learned
through experience,
that certain things
are illegal for me.
Only for me.
I don’t know my rights,  
I have no clue about my duties.
But I sure know what I can’t do:
I can’t be tired.
So many people
work harder and longer…
How can I be tired?
It’s not my right.
I can’t be uncomfortable.
So many people
are living in terrible situations…
How can I be uncomfortable?
It’s not my right.
I can’t feel dumb.
So many people
have more trouble learning…
How can I feel dumb?
It’s not my right.
I can’t be angry.
So many people
are fighting for the greater good…
How can I be angry?
It’s not my right.
I can’t frown.
So many people
smiled during harder times…
How can I frown?
It’s not my right.
I wish I could rebel  
against these rights  
that bound me to happiness.
But they are fair.
Aren’t they?
What I’m going through
is nothing compared to other stories.
How can I complain?
With a smile on my face
I follow all the rules,  
as I should.
I’m well rested.
I’m comfortable.
I’m comfortable.
I’m feeling smart.
I’m calm.
I’m lying.
My bones?
They’re shattered.
My mind?  
It’s shattered.
My heart?
It’s shattered.
My smile?
Completely intact.
On the inside,
I feel all that I shouldn’t and more,  
for the guilt that I feel for feeling,
makes it all so much worse.
But no one can know
I broke all these rules.
So I fake a smile and wave,
and fool all the fools.
They never notice anything.
Sometimes I wish they did…
They would know I broke the rules,
and I could be put on trial,
but the guilt would go away,
and I would do it all with a smile.

Nina Goldfeld is a 16-year-old Brazilian/American, born and raised in Rio de Janeiro. She is a junior in her high school EDEM. Nina started writing poetry right before COVID struck in Brazil, and hasn't stopped writing in both English and Portuguese. She is also a ballerina and a contortionist, but loves doing pretty much anything that doesn't involve other people telling her what to do. Image created by Elaine Lara Rosa Forman.
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A magazine for teen writers—by teen writers. Under the Madness brings together student editors from across New Hampshire under the mentorship of the state poet laureate to focus on the experiences of teens from around the world. Whether you live in Berlin, NH, or Berlin, Germany—whether you wake up every day in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, North or South America—we’re interested in reading you!