Compromise

She gave her heart

To the man who took second place in her imagination,

The almost-but who held the hope of love but not its substance.

Each morning she woke from first place dreams of destiny to live the disappointing reality of Mr X.

What ifs robbed her peace.

But be grateful, her mother told her, to wake up next to regret rather than empty space.

She glimpsed the passion that had held her soul like a pillar to the ground, but in a flicker – gone.

Blown out by whispered anxieties and silent screaming anger,

Drowned in the shouts from this shell of promise who still found the gall to demand his kingship.

She had waited, now he did, for the birth of the remedy which choked her with the cord that gave him life.

Each stolen breath quickened her suffocation – the end of her hope for a new future; white and clean and unmade.

Love, they said, was hard work

But enslavement they did not warn her of.

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She

May each woman know the curve of her own waist and the sturdiness of her ankles.

May she familiarise herself with the thoughts that grow like delicate shoots and sturdy oak trees in the field of her mind.

May she be certain of what sets her heart aflame whether for love or anger and be attentive to the sound of the alarms.

May she be confident of the divinity engrained in her bones by her creator, remembering her head is adorned with a crown of his words.

May she claim as her own the scars that decorate her frame like diamonds and prove that she has overcome.

That she may dance on beds of scorpions without fear of their sting, and silence the hissing snake by the power of her countenance.

So when alone she knows herself to be in the company of a legend and is proud to sing boldly without accompaniment.

That she may walk with friend and lover through the gallery of her soul, explaining to all the art of her existence.