A Woman’s Place
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Category : POETRY
I
When the rage comes to roost in my heart, It comes bearing memories. You are twelve years old and you keep your eyes on the ground the sun has set and no one is around and you are afraid.
II
You are fifteen and you watch the news with eyes peeled. You recite rules in your mind like scripture cover up, eyes down when you’re alone, don’t make a sound. You are twenty thirty-four, fifty-six and you have never felt love without violence. and you take it, like your mother and her mother before her. You carry it on, the carousel turns,
The songs begin once more.
III
You remember when you were cleaning the kitchen after the men had gone to rest. and your mother tells you Women, they are strong. because they endure, they bear pain they face strife
But they never, never leave.
And you are far too young but you think to yourself Love and pain shouldn’t go hand in hand and you beg her to take a stand She laughs then, and calls you a child And says you could not understand.
You could not understand a woman’s place.
IV
A woman’s place
And who decides a woman’s place Is it those who cannot lower their gaze and look at me like I am animal.
Is it those with their wandering hands
Taking ownership as though I am a piece of land Well, to them, I am.
Is it those who tell me I am sullied as I bleed and I laugh through my teeth and say we can fight if you please, but I must warn you my arms are strong from carrying the trauma of the women who came before me.
V
I wonder sometimes if they carry the sins of their predecessors like I carry the pain of mine.
These heirlooms of discrimination.
I will not pass this pain down to my children.
The cycle stops with me.
So take me as your sword and shield if you feel you do not have your own but know that rage come to stay like steel that settles in your bones.
And when the battalion forms its lines let us stand beside our sisters and begin this chant again.
This injustice ends with me,
I will not pass down this pain.

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