We Were Women

Blue Angel 4

By Ricki Mandeville

We were women bound by the testament of blood,
who felt the path grow steep and kept on walking

who felt the tug of ancient oceans, caught the scent
of smoky cave fires, watched our men stride off

to wars and other women, and kept on walking.
We were women who prayed for time as clocks ran out,

who held our babies close, guarded the fearful dreams
of our children, cradled the flickering lives of sick puppies

in our cupped hands, probed ashes for the last live ember.
We smelled the danger. We heard the screams

of murdered earth and the red murmurs of battlefields,
We heard the death rattles of gaunt cities and shook with fear.

But we kept walking. We were girls and sisters and mothers.
We circled those we loved back-to-back against the arrows

and though we begged for mercy or a miracle, we saw
we could not save them. We wept until our tears

washed the ache of our impotence from us. Then we stood
and embraced and called each other by name.

We chanted ourselves strong again and,
bound by the testament of blood, kept walking.


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