Cento for Women Who Are Not Believed
When we are silent we are still afraid,
grown women, well traveled in our time.
These hips have never been enslaved.
Name them, name them all, light of our own time,
high over these robed men who curse me
and the ground spinning beneath us.
Now you are a voice in any wind
a succession of brief, amazing movements,
the fragile cases we are poured into,
this woman's garment, trying to save the skein.
I have divested myself of despair.
It is sweet. The heart dies of this sweetness.
Like amnesiacs in a ward on fire,
we must find words or burn. Fire
changes everything it touches;
I have burned often and my bones are soup.
(Lines from: Audre Lorde, Olga Broumas, Lucille Clifton, Muriel Rukeyser, Almitra David, Joy Harjo, Judy Grahn, Adrienne Rich, Ellen Bass, Ellen Bryant Voight, Brigit Pageen Kelly, Diane di Prima, Jane Kenyon)
First published in Disquieting Muses Quarterly