Poem: Legacies ~ Lysbeth Em Benkert

March 31, 2020 | Filed Under Poem for Hela | No Comments

Legacies
Lysbeth Em Benkert

You were not born with a silver spoon.
There were no manicured lawns,
no ballet slippers.
You learned early to watch
for the scorpions
in the road,
for the rattlers
under the baking rocks,
for the great rumbling volcanoes
in the house—
on the good days they didn’t notice you,
on the good days they were quiet.

* * *
She is so small.
The world will try to wrap her in pink;
they will give her white globes
that
make
her
invisible.
They will tell her stories of Griselda
about waiting.
They will tell her stories of Ruth
about devotion,
about pouring herself
into someone else’s cup
until there is nothing left.

* * *
You will not wrap her in anything.
Instead
give her ruby slippers
so she can always come home;
give her sturdy red boots
that make her
luminous.

Tell her stories of Lilith,
about how she is made form good, wholesome earth
not from a crooked rib.

Tell her stories of Judith,
about rising up to rescue herself.

Tell her that her voice
will ring out
to slay her enemies.

Tell her that she is not St. Paul’s girl—chaste, silent, obedient—
Tell her that
she
is
God’s
avenging
angel.

Tell her
that she can climb mountains,

that
she
is louder
than volcanoes.

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