can you hear my voice?
it travels with the winds
scattering infinite grains of sand across the sahara
the secrets of my sisters
of untold abuse, exploitation, and oppression
carrying with it my fierce spirit and brave heart
the heart of a warrior
heart of a woman
do you see me?
the burden i bear?
like so many lines of destiny etched into time
maps of trials and tribulation
tracing the palms
raised to the sky
waiting for precious dew from heaven
to quench the thirst of parched land
praying to heaven and earth
for strength, redemption
look at these hands of mine
they hold stories
embracing loved ones
ushering new life to the world
tending to my duties as mother and wife
drawing water from the well
toiling in the fields~ cultivating maize and cassava
at the hands of wanton men lurking in the cassava fields
in the flailing fists of my husband
who wishes to break my spirit
who demands my hard earned money
from selling the fruits of my labor~ my blood, sweat, and tears
who wrecklessly spends it on booze and booty
leaving little for the needs of our family
do you see my beauty, my grace?
it is your beauty and grace
these rivulets of tears
they are your tears
can you see through windows beyond smiles
you will find an eternal life giving and sustaining well
one that gives of itself endlessly
will you not hear me?
will you not see?
though my hands chafe and wear with time
though my face weathers in the sun and wind
though my warrior heart breaks
my spirit endures
that is the heart and spirit of a woman
i am mother-daughter-sister-wife-and friend
i am grace