I’ve heard voices of my ancestors,
whispers of the past,
thoughts of the future.
I’ve heard tales of the witches and sorrow of the burning.
Keep it quiet, locked up, live with fear.
To live outside the lines is to live a life condemned.
Look into my mother’s eyes and see the same fears staring back at me.
A woman’s wisdom locked and loaded into the weapon that ultimately takes her life.
Wisdom without learning, a wisdom known at birth.
Passed through the womb to be kept secret,
when the moon howls and the blood is here.
She is afraid and so am I.
Cover it up, keep it wrapped, it’s not something sacred,
but a monthly cycle of embarrassment and shame.
If a woman experiences pain,
she is silent and smiles through the tremors that squeeze her heart,
and the lining within her uterus.
She smiles and I smile back.
We share a silent smile full of that ancient wisdom,
which only we know.
That same look of shared understanding when we’re told to be quiet,
asked to sit down, close our legs, brush our hair, or study a different subject.
The same look we’ve been giving for thousands of years.
A woman’s wisdom doesn’t just die with her flesh.
It lives on through all women within them.
So when I hear the voices, I listen to their call and I see the fear in my mother’s eyes.
I smile, though this time it reaches my eyes.