We eat our tongues as though they would be ripped from our faces,
swallow our voices as though hearth and home
might be torn out from under us.
Our stomachs are full of the stories we’ve stuffed down
with pain and shame and undeserving.
And yet we starve.

How many words live in our throats and die on our lips?
How often do we smile agreeably
while we silence our truths behind clenched teeth?
How many of us have been violated or victimized
because society taught us
to fear our own power?

Influence, we are told, comes of our ability to please.
Beauty, we are conditioned to recognize only in our smallness and delicacy.
We are made to believe that only a fragment of who we are is palatable,
so we trade our authenticity for cultural capital
and hide the rest behind industry-sanctioned masks
of Impermeable Cool.

But we do not exist to be consumed.
Honey, these mouths bite.
And yes, our lips do drip with blood.
We were first to taste Knowledge and so our wombs bear fruit.
Our delicious appetites!
The only Trick came afterward—
when we were fooled into believing the stigmas
placed on our Womxnhood, into divesting ourselves
of our voices and our Intuition,
into devaluing our embodied connection
to the mysteries of Life and Death,
creation and destruction.
Oh the yarns we are fed.

So go on, STICK YOUR DAMN TONGUE OUT!
Screw the patriarchal shackles of Good Taste.
Claim your ferocity, your sensitivity, your inner guidance.
Feel into your cyclic rhythms, your wild capacity to Love.
Take your power. Find Grace.
The world needs your healing wisdom,
and you can’t pour from an empty cup.
So have your fill of Life
and be truly satisfied.

something in the cadence
breathing into the arrangements
that flow beneath your skin
gives you away; tell me
how many lives have you shed?
how many little deaths have you endured
to but rise from the smoldering rubble
of your past selves; i know
they’ll find discarded shackles
buried in scorched earth
engraved, e-g-o.

something tender
toward the truth of human nature
lingers knowingly in your gaze—
is it nothing or everything to say?
we all race to collect shining tokens
of singular lives well-lived; but i see
you were always a beast of burden
holding on to a world of dreams
that could span a hundred lifetimes,
running your fingers through
pockets filled with destinies
you ache to create.

so while others
spent their days chasing the sun
in ever-hesitating search for the horizon,
tell me, how many ways did you find it?
something magnetic in your eyes
tells of the lives you’ve spent
wandering the skyline,
of immense love in your veins
laced with pain of all the trials you faced—
i know you found the edge
of transformation.

how many
footsteps did you take
while your brave heart
went up in flames
until you basked, unafraid
in that brilliant white light?
tell me of those moments elapsed,
when courage took you past
the limits of perception—
it shows on your bones,
the fingerprints you left
from fearfully gripping yourself
as you stood on the ledge
with a song on your breath
and you fatally
dove inward.

won’t you trace for me
the changing forms of finality:
of rapture in the fall, where you
slithered deep till you crawled
through the eye of a storm
and emerged,
covered in ash?
i know each journey
brings you closer to understand
why Life only grasps at once—
destruction and creation
with one hand.