Wait.

This woman was no weakling
And never needed carrying
Nor tending to;
She was raised
Carrying the weight
Of her brothers and sister
Bearing the weight
Of her parents’
Backwards age.
She did not need
Affections or attention,
As she was quite used
To feeding her own
Tender heart
Kept safely confined
Within sinewy wrapped
Iron bones.
She never needed
Reassurances or emotional
Patting, petting, or prodding;
She was born with
Fire under foot
Moving her ever
In a direction
Far from the place
Of her birth.
She needed no weapons,
No armor was required;
For she preferred the
Cool calm
Of watching from shadows
Until measured and
Careful steps may take.
She listened to hear
And watched to see
And carefully calculated
Future moves.
She had no memorized rules
Of the games she played
Yet played them
With expertise.
She had no need
For disguise;
For the ugliness
She bore on the
Outside
Disguised well
The purity of her
Heart and soul.
She had no use for
Deception or lies
For most common people,
She found,
Were fooled enough
By their own
Doubt and denial
Of what was
Plain truth.
She would not wait –
And yet
She found herself
Quite confounded
Befuddled
Puzzled
And bemused
As those who seemed
To speak truths
In common with hers,
Who claimed
To love the purity
Which was housed inside
The bones surrounding
Her loyal heart,
And who swore
Oaths of fealty
To stand beside her
And to build together
A peasant empire
Custom made
For an imperfect two –
Danced their way
Free of their own
Carefully told deceit
By manufacturing ever
More betrayal
Like long ribbons
Furiously spinning
And flurryingly,
Flying,
In the air between them.
She closed her eyes
And sank into
Her marriage bed
And surrendered to the sleep
Of the dutiful bride.
Ophelia sleep-walking
Poppied breath and
Lidded eyes turned inward.
She wove her sinewy cage,
Her human-boned corset,
Tight around her
And handed the reigns
To her phantom-sister
As she dreamt of the
Gilded dirk which
Would finally free her.
She had never any need
For weapons
Nor armor
Nor disguise
Nor deception
Nor lies –
In her rebirth she
Would re-learn
How to be that
Fair and foolish
Maid:
But with open eyes
And cold stone heart
And watchful glare
And questioning mind
And patient stillness
And measured,
Shallow,
Breath.
She waits.
She’ll never allow
Herself to be rescued
For kidnappers and
Knights
Share the same
Silhouettes.
She’ll never allow
Herself full
Release
Nor submission
For that fairy tale
Was told and exposed
Lifetimes past.
She’ll never pretend
To be stupid
Or soft
Or innocent
And barter her intellect
For protection.
She can not bear
Another nightmarish
Sleep.
That social construct
Which makes her into property
Will not do.
And she’ll not
Play the games required
To win a noble heart
From a scared boy
Hiding behind
High walls and
Booby-trapped fields.
Come willingly
Or stay where you are.
She’ll not live
By so many rules
Which were written
By the hands of the
Afeared.
She waits.

Photo credit: Clayton, R. P. (2021). Photographs of Sand Grain Sizes. Virginia Beach, VA. https://news.tcc.edu/rodney-clayton/

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