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  • Detester Magazine

First Steps

Written By: Madeeha Anjum

There’s a weight that follows a child’s first steps—

a pressure that hangs over their heads &

a persistent tremble in their hands and legs

that causes them to fumble about the room,

tears streaming down their faces and against

their parents’ clothes as they collapse.

Confidence is what makes those first steps

memorable, the steady placement of each foot

as they plant them in an effort to make a stride


When Ruby Bridges took her first steps

through the gates of William Frantz Elementary,

she was met with scorn, not applause— a

mass of white arms and legs stomping near

her, daring her movement with their curses

and vitriol. They piled their anger in the streets,

waiting for her to trip—waiting for the screams,

the tears, the angst of a six-year-old child who would

run away in fear of what was to come if she moved closer.

They wanted her to cower, but she stood tall,

as the Sun brushed her dark skin and dyed it gold

for them all to witness—the black child who fought

for a cause greater than herself, who refused to

trip and cry in her parent’s arms, who dared to

take those first steps towards a new America.

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