Janus Lady – Three


Three:

Men gathered in the day,
wrote about possessions and called it love; they said
“We’re a book club”
and a lot of them got published eventually.
They said, “We’re provocative and have new ideas and see the world differently.”

And women wrote secret spells in the night, about passion and heartbreak, 
strength and power and wisdom,  but
the village found them anyway, and said: 
“Truth, poetry, and friendship belong to men. You are a coven of witches and will be treated accordingly.” 

And every single one of them was burned alive. 

This is where the story begins and this is where it
ends, but let me explain a myth:

the ghost did it and
the ghost made me do it are
what all the women said if
they weren’t saying a man did it –

But even in the time of ghosts,
truth and poetry and friendship belonged to men.

She saw them, their caricatured smiles and
empty pretense of love coated with anxiety,
She saw them trusting too easily
falling too willfully,
swallowing untruths whole
and blistering in shame
soon after.

She said “There is always power in names.
so name what has harmed you, find
the anchors in your soul, erase
the lies; and all of them, replace
with yourstories, and above all,
heal.”

But I wanted it,  they wept.

“You wanted, but not it,” she said, remembering
her own fingers, trembling around a cup of tea,
the way she had stared blankly
looking at her boot prints in March mud, outside, b(e)low away
until her reflection came
smiling through the rain-
streaked window pane,
and spoke to her in the language of glass:

“Be careful with
what you write,
what you say,
and how you say it,
especially to yourselves.”

And some of them listened.

And some of them didn’t.

And some of them said she was not really a woman at all,
but a witch, an animal,  a lunatic, and worst of all:
unloveable by any man.

She laughed, said “This is a truth.”

And men gathered in the day,
wrote about possessions and called it poetry; they said “we’re a book club”
and a lot of them got published eventually.
They said, “We’re provocative and have new ideas and see the world differently.”

And women wrote secret spells in the night,
about passion and love and heartbreak,
strength, and power and wisdom,
and they were careful with their words, but
the villagers found them anyway, and said:

“Truth, poetry, and friendship belong to men.
You are a coven of witches and will be treated accordingly.”

And every single one of them was burned alive.

But listen, and listen well, because there is always power in naming
and if you are careful with your writing,
you can always change the future and

sometimes

change the past

They say women born
under my sign have at least
two faces, if not more.

They say that where we say we are
is sometimes where we are not; that

everything you need to know
and cannot know is there
 in the shape our words make in the air

This is where the story ends and this is where it
begins

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This entry was posted in feminism, poetry, scifi and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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