Calm Before the Storm

By: Emma Zwickel

In the shadows of the night,

I’ve watched you seduce the moon

like a siren hell-bent on scraping

together enough power to match

the dawn’s divinity,

I’ve seen you kneel before the sun

when you would’ve rather been basking

in its luminance and

I am like the calm before the storm,

taking you all in breath by breath until

I can hardly breathe anymore.

Once I asked you if it hurt,

having to carry sacrifice on your back,

the weight of my impending future

resting stout and square on your shoulders,

and you told me that hurt is a woman’s backbone,

she travels through life, never seizing the upper hand

but she rises for the sake of her children,

for the sake of the society that looks down

at her from its grounded pedestal,

for the sake of her smile that never dulls

even in the face of adversity because hurt

embodies this world like a blouse two sizes

too small to fit its entirety, but someday

with poise and promise and just a bit of petulance,

the future will be ours.

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