Never once shrunk from the choices slammed into my face,
Never shed tear or plea when I was dragged at a crazed pace,
Never bore the mark of failure– only mask of grace.
Always. I was woman, independent. Always, I was girl cast in iron and stone.
Always, I roamed free, defiant. And always, I roamed free, alone.
Sometimes I meet people who strip their skin, baring stories similar to mine,
and never once do I blink in recognition of a scar, or mark, or line.
And it’s not shame, and it’s not fear- it’s something dungeon, something master.
It’s something stuck in my chest, alien, something caged in husk of plaster.
I smashed the walls, I scaled the mountains- they told me there’d be sky!
I rejected weakness, bonfire confessions–never once did that girl cry.
I swam through oceans, dry-eyed and wild, headed to the heaven of the healed-
Drank all their potions, till I was no longer child, till I sported sword and shield.
But, still! They never told me that the sky would be this vast…
And we so small, with so much aching underneath our tongues.
I send you pigeon now, with note and map… hint for help, at last-
Breathe into me the will to weather, this last storm in my lungs.