I knew instinctively that August afternoon was our last day together
I anticipated your silence, your gradual goodbye
So why am I breaking to pieces
One memory, one touch, one step at a time?
Is there a purpose to selfishly hoping that I’m not alone
When I ruefully smile at the thought of our hands
Timidly linked by the budding affection in your onyx-like eyes?
What’s my escape from this self-imposed sentence
Of senseless remembrance and guileless lies
When endlessly longing won’t bring you back?
What would you have me do? Tell you that I think you’re cute, funny, kind, and sweet? That I find your intelligence incredibly attractive and your presence invigorates my desensitized senses?
And for what? So that your silence can continue to foment my inquietude?
No love. I will not say those things, for you know them all too well.
Rather, you will see me running through this world like the carefree wind blowing by your ear. Do you hear that? It’s the music of my soul, ecstatic in its knowledge of the vigor of my power. A creative soul.
Take your time love. Mull over what you need and what you want. Peruse your thoughts. Listen to the words you yearn to say and heed the silence that you hold so dear.
When you’re ready and your lips regain their usual smirk, I will know if the words coming from my lips are the words we need to hear.
Wives of men, Mothers of sons.
You ceased to exist the day your body was sold through the holy sanctity of matrimony
Stripped of your father’s name and prettily cloaked by your husband’s name.
Do not be fooled.
Your new identity comes at a price too horrific to name: Erasure.
You are no longer Eve, daughter of Man, autonomous person;
You are now His Wife and Their Mother, invisible woman.
Worthy of mention after you’ve birthed a son to carry the family name.
Worthy of shame after you birth daughters, poor souls condemned to expunction.
Who are you? Where have you been, seen, heard, felt?
Tragically no one but you will ever know.
This piece was written as a response to my many observations of the gender politics that riddle family gatherings. Whether knowingly or unknowingly, the men in my family have the habit of introducing first their sons by name, followed by their unwed daughters by name, briefly mentioning their married daughters as “My daughter, so-and-so’s wife,” and introducing their wife last as “My Wife.” They don’t mention her name and rarely ever turn to look her in the eyes when they make the introduction. If she’s lucky her husband will make a half-hearted wave in her direction; but that’s a veritable rarity. With this behavior he enforces a hierarchy that clearly renders women invisible, worse than a second-class citizen.