Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Warrior (For All the Women Who...)
"I admire your witness. You are truly a warrior."--A friend, critiquing a personal essay

I write my pain and this is what you call me,
Even knowing
Less than half the story,
without the grim exhaustive catalog
Of battles braved, which I quickly dismiss,
and battles shared:
The twelve year old with blood
smeared on her thighs like warpaint,
or the sixteen year old
who left her home black eyed and spent a month
sleeping on floors, because she couldn't lie
Any longer about who she was.
And there are scars: the slash above the hip
Where his belt dug in, or the arm--
That scar beneath the skin
Bones broken which have healed themselves in time,
Knit together by agile hope and will.
My hands are open, weaponless,
and waiting for some next fear
to furl them into fists;
Mouth open, on the verge of screaming,
still tasting pain, the sweet salt tang
of blood on the tongue, lips cracked
and hemorrhaging meaning.
Beaten like metal
into some useful shape,
a blade, perhaps, with all that would entail--
Marked but striving and surviving
Anvil, water, fire:
A witness, and a warrior
Born again.
-AG, Oct 2011, written in honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month