Bruise thick as a man’s fist
blossomed on her cheek,
a blue-violet pansy, fading into black.
A bad block in karate class, she explains.
She was careless.
Angry red burn across her forearm,
winding vine swelling.
Spilled coffee as she rushed to get ready for work.
She laughs at how sleepy she is in the morning.
Splintered, splinted forefinger,
a once-straight tree, bending beneath the fury of the storm,
shattered by the lightning’s blast.
Dropped a free weight at the gym, she claims.
Knowing we don’t believe her, she tells us anyway.
once we were delicate flowers, fragile pastel blooms, and violence was
carefully hidden beneath high-necked dresses and long lacy puffed
sleeves, until modern thought and women’s liberation signaled the
tearing off of layers of fragility to reveal the strength that had
withstood generations; yet now the silent lies have given way to vocal
ones, and though patterns have been broken, others have stayed the
same; it seems we have not achieved as much as we had thought
November 25, 1992