Fingers crossed behind their backs

At once weary of returning again and again
to the ragged scrap of memory ripped
from your long ago life
folded over and over into a tiny square
and shoved into a back pocket
yet feeling one small breath of relief
each time you open it up and
air it out and you hear the choir of one million women
singing, “i hear you ~ i believe you ~ i know you ~ i am you”
their refrain is your lullaby

it is our song now

We have been told
by petulant, bullying, liars
wielding weapons of ignorance and egomania
that our bodies are not our own
at any moment of our lives–they are the domain of men and babies

It has been etched in stone
that truth means nothing
compared to getting what they want
No matter if it is our truth
or the truth we expect from others
Fingers crossed behind their backs
as they take the oath,
like the juveniles they are

We will not forget this week of
scorn
hypocrisy
betrayal
injustice
the defensive outrage of privilege
the sneering sarcasm of entitlement

We will not forget any more than
we could forget our own moments of
being pushed into bedrooms
being laughed at
while someone put a sweaty hand
over our mouth

We will never get over it
but we will survive
we will persist
we will sing
we will write
we will make art
we will preach
we will march
we will meditate
we will pray
we will love
we will listen
we will volunteer
we will campaign
we will gather
we will vote
we will protect ourselves and each other

We will look those men in the eye and say
GET YOUR HANDS AND YOUR LAWS AWAY FROM MY BODY
and we will teach our children to say it too
and

WE
WILL
NOT
BACK
DOWN

 

October 2018

(c) 2018 Betsy Rosenblatt Rosso |
please only repost or reprint in entirety and with credit given

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May We Not Shut Up

May we always know someone who will hear us and believe us

Whether we tell our story in a whisper or a sob or a scream or written in tiny letters on a scrap of paper or posted on the internet for the world to see

Whether we sacrifice our privacy and lay bare our hearts for the sake of all women

Whether we are mocked or dismissed or told to shut up

May we not shut up. Ever.

MAY WE NOT SHUT UP.

May we come to understand and never again question that this was NOT OUR FAULT.

Ever.

We never asked to be overpowered or intimidated by a body or bodies or body parts or words or threats or lies.

We never asked to be taken advantage of when we were far too young to be able to defend ourselves, when we trusted older people, when that trust was snapped in two.

May we be strong. May we be brave. May we respect and lift each other up. But may there come a day when such unsurpassed strength and bravery is no longer required, when we are no longer forced to become survivors.

May we now, and whenever we are ready, and for as long as we need to, find the voices to speak and know there are hearts to listen.

September 28, 2018

(c) 2018 Betsy Rosenblatt Rosso |

please only repost or reprint in entirety and with credit given

I Picture You

I picture you
sitting as close as you can possibly pull the chair
up to his bed
careful not to disturb
the noisy network of artificial arteries
filling him with electrical impulses
and life
because you need to hold his hand and
he needs to feel your hand holding his

I can hear you talking with him at times
telling him what the babies have been doing
knowing how they make him smile and how
he can elicit the baby laughs that are the sweetest music on earth
you recall moment after moment of your life together
both ridiculous and sublime, always steadfast
sweet and bittersweet

Thought sometimes you are silent
watching him rest
wondering what is happening in his brain
glancing at the machines that are measuring and monitoring but
not revealing any of the secrets that you want to know

I can picture him lying there
knowing you are nearby
knowing you will never leave
enveloped by your love
waiting to come back to you

September 2018

(c) 2018 Betsy Rosenblatt Rosso |
please only repost or reprint in entirety and with credit given

No One Reads the Fine Print

I suspect you did not know what you were signing up for in this life
No one bothered to read you the fine print when you were born
They were busy
It would’ve been meaningless to you anyway, as it probably is now
The letters shrink smaller and smaller until no one can decipher them at all
So we are forced to improvise

You probably didn’t know how many times your heart would break
or guess who would be the ones to shatter it
and who would mend it
and who would fill it up again with love until it spills over
in tears

You may have thought the instructions should be clearer
the answers more obvious
Subtlety and nuance require patience
You may have heard patience comes easier than it has for you
but you learned quickly that what’s easy is to make mistakes
When they tell you everyone makes mistakes, you’re not sure
you believe them

But it’s true

Did you ever imagine
you would spend so much time awake
because someone desperately needs you
in the middle of the night
Who could possibly have known
how much demand there would be for your presence
in the middle of the night
someone crying or coughing or barking or puking or
flinging their arms and legs across your face and body
while they find the peaceful rest that you have surrendered

I doubt that you predicted what you would let go
and what you would cling to
what would always matter and what would fade
You are probably still making these discoveries
With reading glasses come epiphanies

When did you realize you would be the one
to make the hard decisions
to take the high road
to put on your own oxygen mask first
to say the thing that no one wants to hear or
to swallow the words you wish you could say
because you know no one will listen

You might have thought by now it’s too late
to start something new
But I know it’s never too late
You have shown me that you know it too
It may be hard and it may be messy but
I have faith in you
September 2018

 

(c) 2018 Betsy Rosenblatt Rosso |
please only repost or reprint in entirety and with credit given

For Ginger and Jojo

May you find soft laps to curl up in

Sunlight to warm your fur

Perches the right height to leap from

The exact amount of adventure you require

Morsels of delight to devour

And the joy of peeing anywhere you please

Wherever you’ve gone,

your people’s love is there.

We can hardly even see the cracks

Whether you feel purposeful and strong, filled with resolve, come in.

Be with us and share your strength.

We will be lifted.

Whether you feel broken, shattered, utterly depleted, come in.

Be with us and put down the shards of spirit you are carrying.

We will hold them for you.

Whether you feel like the glue is still drying

from where you put yourself back together as best you could,

and you’re feeling all right,

perhaps a bit tentative tinged with optimism, come in.

We can hardly even see the cracks,

and even when we can, we don’t mind.

We have them too.

Let the light wash over us together,

in all our imperfections.

 

August 2018

 

(c) 2018 Betsy Rosenblatt Rosso |
please only repost or reprint in entirety and with credit given