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HeLa, I know

A poem for Henrietta Lacks

By G. A. BoteroPublished 5 months ago 1 min read

(pronounce HeLa as heh·luh.) Get it?


HeLa I know that my cancer would be immortal

Yet, here I am, a forgotten soul

My name known only to a few who use me

Know beyond name to only those that knew me

HeLa I know I would be, yet, another Black woman

Exploited for her body

Without consent and

lacking compensation

For the greater good they say

Without any pay

Not for me, but for those that loved me

That is the American way

social commentary

About the Creator

G. A. Botero

I have a million bad ideas, until a good one surfaces. Poetry, short stories, essays.

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Comments (3)

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  • Hannah Moore5 months ago

    This is great - though I needed to Google Henrietta lacks.

  • I wrote this poem on a prompt from Sarah Allatt for a poetry contest on allpoetry.com. I had never heard of Henrietta Lacks before the prompt. I still have much to learn about her, but I know that cancer research, researchers, and survivors owe Henrietta a great debt. Let’s not forget her name. Thank you Henrietta Lacks.

  • This was very profound and poignant. Well done!

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