As I stand in front of this woman,
this unique and ordinary woman,
and listen to her story, her struggles, her hopes and despairs
I begin to see her.
I pay attention.
Her hair is nappy, uneven, uncombed
scathed by neglect and muck.
How long has it been since a man ran his masculine fingers through your wiry hair? Touching the delicate, robust curvature of your neck.
Do you remember the warmth of his hands electrifying every nerve ending they seduced?
Her eyes are sunken, dark with uncertainty of the future
And the monotonous routine she has reduced her life to.
The vibrancy of her eyes, like her sexuality, has been eclipsed by
Vanished lovers and exhausting attempts to feel
Her Sensuality buried by years of hard work, unrelenting problems,
And disrespectful men.
The curvature of her fully defined lips is interrupted with
Dry and cracked patterns of abandonment
Parched for the moisture of gently suctioning kisses
Do you yearn to fill feminine once again?
To smell of honeysuckle and cum?
Her hands callused and blistered have forgotten
The pungent scent of a man
His salty satisfying taste
When was the last time you were intimately caressed
Induced into erotic thrusting and swaying rhythms
Opened to accept his nectar?
Has your skin lost its lusciousness? Is it covered
with wounded stretch marks and overweight scars?
Do you remember your floral aroma before it was
Assaulted by years of loneliness?
Do you contemplate the oversized cambers
Of your body and think you are no longer
Deserving nor desirable?
No earings adorn her face
No hues of red or rose soften her disposition
No trace of a ruffle or a flower
Simply a female
I was inspired to write this poem after a home visit with a student and her mother. She was a single mother working relentlessly and tirelessly to support her four children. She worked two jobs, and I was meeting her between shifts. I could not stop thinking about her for days – her voice, face, hair, and hands were impressed in my memory. She became a metaphor for all the women who have no choice but to survive; for the women who do the heroically impossible for their children; for the women in my family who sacrificed so I could become; for every woman who has given her all and lost herself in the process.