life, poetry, prosetry

Your misuse

They can tell you

Because you’re not going to back down

You won’t sell your sisters for a side ways glance

You won’t burn your bra, you may need it to strangle someone

You have the same look

All of you

The ones with green hair and multiple piercings who say fuck off before you smile

The ones who rule the world behind the scenes and nod as their husbands slip inside

The ones who are glory and begotten and forgotten and eclipsed and insist

They still live

You can tell

Even as they spell it out in myriad ways

I am not your slave

You do not own me

But once I was hurt very badly

By my father, mother, brother, sister, best friend, neighbor, uncle, stranger

And I carry the brand around my throat

Once in a while when I lean over

You can see it quickening

I may stay locked at home with agoraphobia

I may dance on tables in mock euphoria

I may fuck you and your friends for a glass of red

I may be a nun or an abstinent

How I express my rage

Comes differently

But inside we’re all the same

The whores, the moms, the teachers, the tree cutters, the little and the large the quiet and the opera singer

If I open my legs it doesn’t mean I’m over it

Or caused it or needed that brand

If you repeat the violence, it may be the carousel in my head

If I close them it doesn’t mean I’m frigid or need a bit of teaching, by you

If I’m a lesbian that’s not the reason, if I’m into men, I’m not guilty of treason

Underneath we are the sisters and brothers of

Your misuse

And our pain doesn’t go away like Oprah said

Our scars aren’t magnified if we think about it thirty years to the day

We’re not stronger for forgetting, remembering, talking, staying silent

Violence, passivity, acceptance, rage

We’re not weak because at 4 am we find tears on our cheek

We’re not strong because we take it and carry it around

We survived

Just like a rock

Covered with water

Will remain whole beneath storm

But whittle down with erosion

So slow nobody can tell

We’re not your beloved or maybe we are

We’re c-sections and sterility and STDs and shame in every color

We’re nymphomaniacs and we’re disgusted, we’re relieved, we’re open, we’re closed

We’re sisters and brothers of fire and brimstone

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