when i called myself a strong woman
he said he couldn’t wait to see that side of me
as if i didn’t wear my strength like a skin
stretched too tight over all my sides
-as though I weren’t bearing the boulder
of my femininity to and from his bed
-the living Sisyphus
i told him i was an independent creature
that i belonged to myself alone
he said it did not worry him
a real man would not bother with anyone lesser
i felt him rise to the challenge of
trapping my nomad feet in shackles
could sense him engineering
the cage he would keep me in
he whispered in my neck
that he wanted a woman like me
someone with wings
was he a butterfly-catcher then?
chasing a spectacular species
so he could pin it to a cork board and proclaim
Here is my Small Wonder, look how conquered, how tame
I should have told you then, boy
I am a woman, not a moth.
I have no wings.
Only feet too small for your shackles
Only skin too tight to tear
I am a woman.
When I leave you, I will not fly
I will walk.