art

Darling, Don’t Be The Good Girl.

And I’ve kept my mouth shut. I’ve delicately arranged the duct tape over my own lips. Do-it-yourself oppression. Bring-your-own degradation.

I’ve stood in the path of hurricanes — tied my own hands to the tracks. It’s just the way things are done, darling. It’s just the silence we all savor.

I’ve felt the hands, the arms and words. No fighter — all slave. Offering myself up for sacrifice.

And this fight is dangerous, darling — but we’re all sleepwalking to our deaths anyway.

And if I ever teach you anything,

It won’t be how to get beaten standing still.

My mouth must kiss the fire, melt the frozen Yes still surrounding my strong tongue.

These eyes will meet eyes — entitlement meeting its breaking point.

For you belong to no one but yourself. And I — I am the same.

I’ll lay out my past in pages and poured pain. Scrolling scrawls of the ways I’ve crawled across the floor to make myself less — so he could be more. You deserve to know, darling. That lowering yourself to raise another, it’s taking steps down to your grave. But this shovel has more uses than one.

And I’ll break my way through this zombie horde. A warrior queen with arms like iron.

You have three years, darling — before I was backed into corners. The only corners you make will be to accent your carefully carved strength.

You have three years, darling — before I was grabbed by the waist. You’ll never waste away in hands that harm you.

You have four years, darling — before my neck was claimed by crawling fingers.

You have five years, darling — before that wall was cold behind my back and I told myself it’s what I wanted.

You have six years, darling — before the welts drew an X to mark the spot where I said No — but he said it meant Yes.

I tell you, darling — you’re an artist, you’re brilliant. I tell you, darling — they won’t value your work until you value it yourself.

Stories-for-sale, fifty cents.

I delicately drew that duct tape over my lips. Telling myself there were no value in words of tangled shadows. And those hands gripping my wrists became my own. Like Mona Lisa I smiled, poised with grace for the watchers. The critics in their coiffed contemplations — and still I smiled.

But you won’t smile, darling.

We won’t.

I have hidden stories beneath my skin, but like tattoos they’re oozing up. I’m bleeding revelation — so warn the diving dragon. This woman isn’t running in fear. I will not be remembered for washing feet with tears. Each battle scar a mark of worth. As I clothe myself in purple, rising from a death I claimed as my own. Leaving coal there at his feet, those fields can gather themselves.

I’m not kneeling for the remnants, the scattered grains of someone else’s glory. I’ll ride with seven seals imprinted on my forehead — four horses breaking through the dawn. With strong fingers, I’ll form bowls to gather the words to scatter in the waters.

Warn the diving dragon. This woman will not run with fear — she wears a crown of stars.

I have sixty years, darling — before they’ll lower me into the ground, but not before I’ve scorched my name into the earth above. And in the breeze a delicate piece of duct tape trembles. Singed.

 

*****

ShandiBA self-proclaimed recluse, Shandi would rather wander forest halls alone than dance under bright lights. Enamored with the idea that all healing comes from self-knowledge, she explores herself, constantly memorizing the constellations in her own soul to find her way among the stars above her. A writer since the age of nine, Shandi is often found curled up in bed typing by the light of a small white screen. She is obsessed with tasting every matcha latte on this earth before she dies, and being barefoot as often as inappropriately possible. Her sentences are always too long.

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