The Cradle and the Crow

They are forged not birthed, those little girls
with toes dipped in the grave, preyed upon
by old crows perched on cradles, picking at dead
flesh. In that sea of blood and half-life
the pages of your holy book have grown damp.
The trumpet has gone mute, and so you must carve
your interpretation between my thighs,
and use the old pages to muffle my screams as you chant
parsed segments of tradition and submission.

We are warriors now, haunted by the glassy-eyed stares
of that generation of broken dolls with knees worn ragged
from misguided offerings to man-made gods. But
are we so different? Are we so unlike our mothers
and foremothers who filtered poison into wine
and poured into our cups whispers of a better future?
And are you so similar? Are you so much like your colonial
fathers who stripped naked your mother
land and planted seeds that have borne strange fruit?

Shall I then peel it back? This hard-won pride, past the flesh
and blood until I am bone? And If I am bare, are you bare too?
If my fragile bones should crack under the weight of
the content placed in my empty womb, to whom should
I run? Shall I peek past the curtain and gaze at the wizard,
whose rose coloured glasses have rendered me blind?
In this blindness there is warmth; we are born
again, removed from the knowledge of the tempting fruit
placed between our lips by that first serpent.

There are words, you say, for women like me.
Women that would stray past the gates of the garden
and lead man to an existence of suffering. Castrated
nation of half-men offering their heads on a platter
to foreign kings, made drunk on the sophism of
practiced whores. We have become undone,
you say, forgone of angels and recaptured by beasts.
Burnt black by the fires that lick at our soles
in anticipation of that great final fall.

Shall I then weep? And should my tears form an ocean
and you should drown, would you then pray to your god?
The god that binds me to your feet and turns
a blind eye as I am beaten black and black? The god that
washes your blood-stained hands in milk and honey after
you have broken your rib in breaking me?
This god I cannot hear that owns the hearts of men
like you; I cannot pray to such a god. Shall I then starve
in this foreign land bereft of shelter for women like me?

We are not now as we were in the days of your fathers;
virgin lands awaiting impregnation; dry springs sprung
forth by impatient lust. That familiar chain is worn
and rusted—the collared bitch has now run mad, made
frenzied by scraps of bloodied flesh carelessly flung
by untrained guards. Your gods are dead, and your tower
is crumbling; cling fast to those sirens which you
once spurned, for the seas of life offer you no redemption
but a watery grave and a blackwater crown.


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