can you see her?

June 17, 20172 min read

When I write poetry, it’s usually because I’m struck with a really vivid image of something. It was 3 a.m. and I was lying half asleep when a picture of this gorgeous girl popped into my head. Her features shifted, but every part of her remained vibrant and strong. Instantly, I wanted to transfer her existence into reality in the way I know best — with words. Along the way, this piece became a sort of ode to characteristics that society usually doesn’t attribute to beauty. I wanted to write about a girl who didn’t have sky blue eyes or wheat yellow hair or a thin nose and was still accepted as absolutely stunning. Regardless of what the flower crown filters on Snapchat might suggest, your features don’t have to look European for you to fit the definition of beauty.


Her eyes carry the warm brown of soil,

Rich and layered with life

That feeds life.

They are the color of the vivacity

That runs through her veins

And makes her heart go


She is alive, and she thrives.


Her hair is like tree bark,

Thick, course, strong –

Unyielding as her glowing spirit.

It whips around her face,

Unruly and volatile –

But when she locks eyes with that

Girl in the mirror,

She sees a lion’s mane.

She is a warrior by birth,

A force of nature.


Her skin is terra cotta –

Rich brown and freckled like the night sky.

“Dirty”, the halls whisper in her wake.

But her skin is a smooth suit of armor

Donned every day

Into the unassuming battlefield.

A symbol of all she has accomplished

Against the odds,

A testament to her resolve.


She walks into the world

On callused feet,

Tread light, unnoticed.

But I see her;

I see the fire in her eyes and the

Spunk in her steps.

She treads with intent

To touch the sky

With all the magic she quietly spins.

I see this wonder girl –

Can you?

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Haniyah Burney

Haniyah Burney is a Pakistani American Muslim girl living in Texas. She writes to refine her thoughts into action, and her greatest belief is in the invaluable nature of love and kindness. She enjoys lukewarm cups of tea and reading Jane Austen with a cat on her lap.