Lili Lang

No. No! No?
Anger, Demand, questioning
Flimsy perhaps. Versatile likely.
Only depends on the tone.
My first word, the word my toddler tongue screamed to get her way 
Didn’t work then either 
A notion that grew beside me. Gaining limbs and filling out 
Now so complex my tongue can no longer support it. So foreign my mouth can no longer pronounce it. Anything above a whisper I butcher. This word a babe could speak, I can only think 
So I ask the question, a question my mind can no longer answer 
What is no.
What is no! 
What is no?
an unspeakable phrase, one with unknown consequences.
What needed to be said when no one could say it for me.
Whether said through tears or screams still means the same.
Followed or not, Respected or not, Heard or not, it’s been said.
What is no.
Just two little letters whose only power comes from their speaker
Lili Lang is fifteen years old and lives in California. Lili is an avid reader who loves the performing arts. She particularly enjoys writing short stories and poetry. Recently she became Ventura County's Youth Poetry Ambassador and 2024 Poetry Out Loud county champion. She is a Write girl mentee and was previously published in Write girl's literary journal Reflections. Lili is the proud founder of her blog “The Purple Paragraph” that showcases her work and art from other young authors.

"Talking Mouth" by MouthGuy2013 is marked with CC0 1.0.

The Author
Read More
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!