In Praise of the Women
For more than two years, she gathered words from women who had turned
black, women with a thousand eyes, jaundiced and yawning, exhausted
by their own pauses. She snatched echoes from their tired faces and the concentrated
motions of their bodies, grafted them onto unlined paper,
her voice entering a pact with each other voice - though she never said a word.
But then she passed the golden words, golden as a bracelet of sorrow,
to other women who spoke them,
questioned and repeated those words until their palms were heavy
with the curve of them, the blue space texture
of their voices turning each shiny phrase gently in their mouths,
and she listened, an audience of one, to the fragments of the others.
She listened to the sad gravel hope, the heat and solidity, the winces and pulses
of their stumbling. She listened to each woman unfurl, to each woman punch
the small room with what she knew until it was no longer cold,
and it was neither hot, until she could touch it, until we could each touch every other —
as if attention to these details of our lives mattered, as if we shared blood,
as if hearing the words she had once written made it possible to finally put them away.