you think I’m on my knees but I am not on my knees
every step is preparation

muscles slowly locking into place beneath bruised skin
my bones are stalwart in their readiness despite the scars from your hands
twisting through their marrow

each movement is choreographed but this is not a dance – I am not a dancer

I am a singer who carries the moon like a song in her veins

my sisters hear the same drum beat

(you can hear our voices in harmony – a beautiful warning)

you’ve always thought I was beautiful

a canvas begging for your hands to brush in violet and red

but I am already painted in silver

that will be your downfall

my feet are beneath me now – there is no time to run

for I am much more than woman

(my voice is raised; my teeth are bared)

and you

are only