On Her Terms – poem

On Her Terms:
“Girl, living in the swell of my belly, 
I sense you sobbing as I sway, 
And wonder what grief and knowledge, 
Fill the knots of your body like the crusts
or boiled grass we ate to survive” A poem by Victoria Field.

On Her Terms – poem

On Her Terms
A poem by Victoria Field

Girl, living in the swell of my belly

I sense you sobbing as I sway

And wonder what grief and knowledge

Fill the knots of your body like the crusts

or boiled grass we ate to survive

Let the girl speak, On Her Terms,

When she’s ready

Let the girl live, let history move through her,

Stand steady

Girl, when I nurse you

You kick like a mule, a spasm moves

Through you and I jump like we did

When they took us at random

Lined us up against walls

Punishing us for existing at all

Let the girl speak, On Her Terms,

When she’s ready

Let the girl live, let history move through her,

Stand steady

Girl, I’ll take you to school, stiff

in your first uniform and when

we’re pushed hard onto the bus

Your eyes might widen in fear as if

you’re being stolen, stuffed in a truck

Straw-strewn and stinking

Let the girl speak, On Her Terms,

When she’s ready

Let the girl live, let history move through her,

Stand steady

Girl, when you wake from bad dreams

Saltwater streams from your eyes

You don’t know the words for machetes

or genocide, rapist or waterboard,

Let me hold you, as my mother held me

Like Russian dolls, all of us live

One inside the other inside the other

Girls on the street bearing our history

Let the girl speak, On Her Terms,

When she’s ready

Let the girl live, let history move through her,

Stand steady

Let the girl speak, On Her Terms,

When she’s ready

Let the girl live, let history move through her,

Stand steady

© Victoria Field 2018

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