What We’re Told Not To Talk About – Christine E. Ray

we liked you better
when you were a girl
with your mouth muzzled shut
by strong adult hands
seen but not heard
on your scabbed bony knees
easily rendered

we liked you better
when you were young
held the shared secrets close
carried the blame
our blame
as if it were your own
eyes cast down
head hung in shame
feeling unclean

we liked you better
before something within you
started to wake
to stir
and you began clearing the debris
painstakingly from your throat
with bare hands, knuckles bloody
looking up from the floor
to meet our gaze
simmering with mute rage
challenging our authority
our integrity

we liked you better
before you embraced your power
oiled the rust from your voice
with burning truth
rose slowly to your feet
to stand nose to nose
as you spoke at last
no longer tethered by shackles
we arrogantly thought
would hold you fast
a woman
her own

© 2019 Christine Elizabeth Ray – All Rights Reserved