How to be a Strong Female Character

June Web Feature by Kathryn Pope

Kathryn Pope’s poetry, fiction, journalism, and creative nonfiction have appeared in The Cape RockBrushfire, Gulf Stream MagazineTelereadParenting Magazine, and Emerald City. She holds an MFA in creative writing and an MA degree in urban sustainability. Kathryn is a faculty member and writing instructor at Antioch University. She enjoys knitting, spinning yarn, and sending handwritten letters delivered by the postal system.

How to be a Strong Female Character by Kathryn Pope

You’ve got this,
with a family
and a golden retriever who jumps on the couch
like in pharmaceutical commercials.
Be bold.
Be public.
Assert remembrance
and learn how to sweat.
When you wake in the night,
do not walk barefoot into the alley
listening for stars
and drones.
Do not crouch
to see the ants
carrying crumbs
their lines
weaving like lace
around the globe.
Do not feed
the soil
with libations
for your sins and sins of your ancestors.
Do not lay yourself to rest
as to death,
and silent.

Published by

El Portal

Eastern New Mexico University’s literary magazine, El Portal, offers a venue for the work of writers, artists and photographers. ENMU students, national, and international writers are welcome to submit their original, previously unpublished short stories, plays, poetry and photography. No entry fees are charged. Cash prizes are awarded to first-, second- and third-place winners in each category (only ENMU students qualify). El Portal is published each semester at Eastern thanks to Dr. Jack Williamson, a world-renowned science fiction writer and professor emeritus at ENMU who underwrote the publication. El Portal has been published since 1939.