Alanna Cross was twelve.
When twelve was the age of long division
She hurt her wrist through incision
When twelve was the age of pushing dolls in a pram
She was seen flashing through a webcam
Alanna Cross lifted her shirt.
And then the question “send me a picture”
A photo that would change lives — a fixture
She raised her shirt, bared her chest
This is not a story of rape or incest.
Once upon a time, did not humans walk nude
Was not man and woman primitive — crude
Did not men paint pictures of breasts and call it art?
When did this creative expression become “tart”?
A few months later, a message delivered by a demon
Who I believe possesses no humanity, manhood, semen
Another threat, a knock at 4, not even dawn
A knock that announces a new life being born.
A life of being so sad it becomes a disease
Oh would you take some time to understand please?
For how many knocks do you hear in your life
A knock by a long lost friend, or a homecoming wife?
A knock by a postman, a tax collector in coat
But this one was the police with a distraught report,
For everyone had seen her bare, the
You would expect them to feel nothing but remorse or pity
These very males who seeked pleasure watching porn
Braised and bruised Cross till she was nothing but torn
They loved seeing women make videos for money
Laughed at the videos of this girl; somehow this was “funny”
If you’re going to name a girl who bared her chest a “hoe”
Then so are the women you watch behind a closed door.
She moved schools, but he followed her like a curse
Ruining her life, so quickly, quietly, he was terse.
And then! A ray of hope shone through like a lighthouse by a sea
A person claimed to like her quite immensely,
So when she was loved, she accepted it in all forms,
But he was already in a relationship and cheating was the norm.
The next day at school, in front of a crowd,
A fight began, uproarious and loud,
The girlfriend found out, as all things are bound to be revealed,
And Alanna Cross kept the boy’s unfaithfulness concealed.
They hammered her, brought her down on the ground,
And the teachers watched helplessly, only just astound,
She fell face first, into a ditch,
They called her a hoe, a slut, 12-year-old bitch.
And when she was found, she went home and drank
Bleach like it was an oxygen tank,
The only way to live was to perish,
But the ambulance flushed it as though it was a blemish.
And then the memes began on the Internet.
“She should’ve tried different bleach,” they fret.
She eventually made a video and shared it with the world,
But the comments still called her the “slutty girl.”
And when she was dead, there was a lamenting choir.
If only they’d realised this months prior.
And yet when the boys watched her story unfold,
They googled “boob flash” as though on a search for gold.
Alanna Cross was fifteen.
When fifteen was the age of boy bands,
She was busy, cutting her hands.
When fifteen was drinking and telling your parents a lie,
She saw fifteen as the age to die .
Shahlaa Yasmin is a 17-year-old Sri Lankan who enjoys writing and spurting out quotes from books. She is attempting to build an organization in retaliation for street harassment in Sri Lanka, and she is currently writing a book which she hopes to publish in the American market.