by Lisa Kusel
I am not a woman,
I am women,
I have a face, although you don't
see my face.
"Look at me when I'm talking to you."
I have a face.
I have a voice.
Hear me roar. Better yet, come
and hear me whisper. For my screams
you blithely ignore, as though they are
inconsequential laments from a baby
not your own.
It will be my whispers then;
the runty sounds
that turn inside my head
like a Ferris wheel in the distant dark.
Whispers shall carry us through
to the day you stop scorching our souls with the
party-line precepts stowed securely
in your breast pocket.
Your right hand pats them once, twice,
then rests solemnly as you pledge allegiance
to the hatred and subversion you married.
I watched as you anchored your beliefs to
this totem of power
then chose to back away from the moral ledge.
between friends, words spoken through clouds
of outrage, but uttered nonetheless, shared with
Marina and Anne, Topaz, Meg, Lori and Susan
Monica and Kelley.
A match has been lit. Held in the
whispers of Jenny and Deby
and Aimee and Judy.
You haven’t heard us yet, have you?
Because we’ve been whispering.
What do you think a million angry whispers
sound like when uttered
in a small wood-paneled room?
A whisper from one woman who spoke her truth
should have been enough
should have been more than enough
to set your world ablaze.
We are here now, full, on fire,
ready to burn down your injustices like
flames ripping through fields of drought-dried wheat.
We’re here now
whispering amongst ourselves.
* * * * *
"Listen" first appeard on Lisa Kusel's blog on October 8, 2018.
Lisa Kusel is the author of the recently-released Rash, A Memoir, about running away to Bali, as well as two previous works of fiction. Her poems and essays have appeared in Zuzu's Petals; The Mondegreen; Women Writers, Women's Books; The Manifest-Station; and Motherly. Follow her on Instagram @lisa_kusel