We can’t pick her out of a crowd, she who lives in secret. As the eyes of her teachers stabbed with disapproval, she learned to show what they would not condemn. And sometimes her sisters were as mean. She learned that the living joys within her provoked anger, shame and burning envy. Her desire, her daring, her naked delight, she reveals to those she trusts. And those joyous moments are sometimes mixed with deceit, and betrayal.
We see her dressed for work, professional, reserved and qualified. In her costume we cannot see her breath become a wild mare upon which a moaning sigh rides.
She hesitates to smile at men. If they knew her joy they would try to own and control her. They would dress her up, a monkey to dance for family and friends while the master grinds an organ. Such men seek admiration at the cost of her life, they can’t fill her chalice.
Her family would disavow her, if they knew her pleasure. Her rightful inheritance can be lost. She is more than the ideas we have about her. Sometimes she and her sisters seek a risky escape and use drugs. But even then, inhibition lurks nearby for it’s just a break in a dead routine. In sober reflection, she laments the ignorant treatment of her harmless joy.
When she walks the street, she hears the catcalls of men who, on their best day, couldn’t keep up for long. She is like a tree heavily loaded with delicious fruit, the branches may break. And it’s more fruit than any foolish man could ever hope to eat.
Anyone who would cage her commits a crime. I can only count on my fingers the men I’ve met who forsake the chains. So she lives in secret, her sisters also live in secret. And my heart breaks.
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