by Danielle Leshgold

Illustrated by Brooke Ripley

Some days
All I see is men
That see with their hands.
Men that think their hands
Are engines.

And other days,
I can see us.
Shapeshifting women,
That used to live in our whispers
And in our running.
Hear this? 
The sound of our feet doing their job.

We used to catch their vulgar words and put them in our pocket.
You know the words,
The ones on the back of the neck,
The ones that birth beads of sweat.

But I can see us,
Taking their words out of our pockets,
Using their words against them.

And now,
We must stop
Being afraid
Of the sound of our own voices.

If their hands are engines,
Then ours are steering wheels.

I wish I could mummify a moment.
Or a movement.

I wish I could capture that feeling.
The flames that billow
through the walls of our stomachs.

Watch us
Contort shame
Into strength. 

I can see us screaming out loud,
I can see us used to loving the words in our mouths.

I wish I could savor this feeling 
that though we’ve been scared, 
Though we’ve been ashamed
We have not been alone in any way.