You Are Every Woman
By Christen Sweat
Little girl I know what you're going through, I've felt the hands of shame as they forced my thighs apart, Gleamed burning tears of betrayal as unwanted advances slipped into silent acceptance, I have screamed until my throat bled from the pain no man could see, Because I am a woman and my choice was taken from me. I have walked the shadowed streets of uncertainty when you were but mist in the morning sky, Wore dresses so long and heavy, corsets that took my breath, I've been sold to the highest bidder to bring honor to my family, Placed in masks meant to fool men into loving the thought of who I might be, Wars were waged for a moment between my thighs, Kings bartered lands for men of power, and all this for a feather light touch of my breast, I grow noblemen and beggars, Rapists, thieves, presidents, knights, Dukes, and kings, My womb is the bringer of life, I am a woman, and my choice was taken from me. I have nurtured villages, Raised countless cattle, Foraged for berries in the garden of Eden, I have mended wounds, Saved nations, Been the muse for the greatest works of art, My breasts are filled with the milk of souls, Little Girl please don't lose hope, We are a tribe of unseen force amongst the masses, Resilient victims turned survivor, Warriors barring scars of battles fought long before you or I were even Ideas, Little Girl look at the world around you, See how the weeping willow bends to the will of the wind, but does not break, We too are Willows, Flexible when needed, but so strong our backs will never snap, We hold memories in the branches we grow, Each imperfection etched in the wood that makes us, The leaves that make us strong, Though delicate they look, One swing from our mighty vines, and blood would leak from our enemies. Yes, we are willows, Strong, bending, ever aware, memory gathering, unbreaking willows. We are moons watching over our creations, Suns shining down on fields, Little Girl I feel the fear that radiates from your core, The mistrust of the stranger that looks too closely from the side seat on a subway train, The kind stranger offering a reassuring glance as you walk past, but even they are not to be trusted, The friends you've known all your life, The brothers, Uncles, Fathers who raised you, Suddenly their masculine frames no longer scream protection, Young Woman we are divine Intervention, Roses that wilt with the change of our seasons, We are diamond memorials to all the women who came before us, Testimonies to the strength passed to us by our sisters, We are nature, God's undefined love poured into the vase that holds hope for so many. Young Lady you are more than this world would have you believe, You are stronger than they say, One day your small flat frame will swell with the curves passed down from above, Your hips will hold secrets with every sway, The swell of your breasts will cause eyes from every corner to wander, The mystery of what your clothes hide will only make them linger longer, You will inherit our pain, and our struggles, You are a woman, and your choice may be taken from you. But, you are a woman, You are made from the dust of all who came before you. You are strong and unbroken, A diamond memorial, A testament to the ages, You are legacy. You are the definition of divine creation. You are every woman.
Check out some of Christen’s other work.