The heart I hold tightly within my chest, tightly holds me back.

This is our song. 

The art and the work and the words I am here to do have been buried by the aggressions of men. By the bodies of men. By the silencings of men. By the refusal of their eyes to see, and their ears to hear. By my own belief that had I only asked politely, respectfully, with clarity of vision and specificity of language: only then I would have received the gatekeeper’s permission. Only then would it be proper and permissible for me to seize my own heart and dance myself to exuberant annihilation upon the beaches of my own dreams, that heart clutched tight within my ribs, its steady thumping the pulse to which my feet move.

I am done speaking to the bodies of men. To the helpmeets of men. Let them listen, if they choose. The high careening wail and exultation of my throat’s song is not meant for them.

I stand now. Angry, outraged, exultant. I may steal your words—steal his words—but the language I shout on dark nights to brilliant stars is my own.

He may listen—

but he is damned before he understands.

"Light as a Feather, Strong as a Wing." Encaustic by Bridget Benton
“Light as a Feather, Strong as a Wing.” Encaustic by Bridget Benton

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