poetry

I Offer My Endless Gratitude to Women. {poetry}

 

There is a rumor —
And I know, I perpetuated it myself once —
That women
Hate other women.
That we are as cats on walls who will happily watch each other
Be eaten alive by dogs, from up high above
That put enough of us alone in a room and you will have nail-scratches, and knives in your back
And smiling faces to yours
Like assassins,
Who compliment your lipstick and take your man.
And I have met women, weak women, angry women, women who look down their nose at me and mine.
And it took a while to see the fear in their eyes, that is behind every one of them
The idea that I have something, or you have something
That we have something to lose to each other.

But in the last three years in particular,
I have sat with women, comfortable ones in kaftans and prim ones with painted-on eyebrows and gravel voices
And we have seen each other. We have shared tea, sometimes gin, sometimes a seat on the bus.
We, I think, have recognized each other
For the weight that we carry on our shoulders, the burden of our ancestors, and the excuses of the weight on our hips.
It began with a tough girl from my office, a real estate agent
Who offered to break a man’s car windows for denting my heart.
She didn’t even know me, but she knew.
And I remember thinking, oh mama, this could change everything.

I have written them millions of words, and they have brought me scones, danced with their arm in mine;
We have prayed to the same moon and felt it reverberate in the thousands of miles between our lives.

I am in awe. Of the mountains we shift, in the silence between dangerous and truthful words.

— I am afraid.
— You are beautiful.
— The strangest things are happening to me.
— I have had enough.
— I do not know what to do next.
— I’m going to do it.
— I am scared for my father.
— I left my mother.
— I am broken in pieces.
— Come with us tomorrow.
— I feel like I’m birthing the universe.
— My girl, my girl, if you need anything…
— I know. Thank you.
— I am here. I am here. I am here.

All of it brave to be spoken aloud.
Therefore, all of it holy.

And the most beautiful thing we do, these days
Is forgive each other for thinking we had to choose,
Between being cats on walls or being eaten alive.
Second only to the reverence in words like,
— I know you like rice milk in your tea, so I brought you some
— You look just fine. Your tits are magnificent.
— I hear you. I believe you.

It is a testament to their wisdom, these women
Because we were never taught to love each other, and of course many still don’t
We were never taught that what lies behind hate for our kind is fear,
And at last we’re starting to know.

It’s a warm moon evening in latest August.
The heat is still and I am in no sanctified church
(I have only two-dollar incense that makes me cough)
But I offer everything, everything
In prayer to women;
My endless gratitude, to women,
To my savior sisters,
A mad and roaming flock of bitches and queens, all crowned, all sainted
Who deserve the shamelessness of paradise birds.
Who can heal the whole world and worry still about the roundness of their ass.
You are grandeur in motion, my friends.
You are vital, and blessed,
And divine,
And woman,
And I love you.

***

Kelsey Avalon is a Maori-Australian holistic counselor and writer, living in post-Troubles Northern Ireland. Taught from childhood the ‘old ways’ of Polynesian ancestral wisdom and native spirituality of her warrior people, witnessing unspeakable abuse and running wild in the arid landscapes, Kelsey practices the art of ‘korero’ — stories that are felt in the bones, spoken for those who have had their voice taken from them — and writes of cultural trauma, spirituality, love, recovery, feminism, diaspora and identity. She is also a practiced astrologer, and has found her way by the stars, everywhere from the pyramids of Egypt to the jungles of Peru. Her first book Moon Magic: The Ancient Art of Divine Timing Made Modern, was published in 2016.

***

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