Terra firma

She flexes her toes, rocks back and forth on her heels, bends down and inspects the ground with a look as puzzled as it is fierce. She does this every now and then, without shame, without care for the looks, baffled, amused.

Thick joints and cracked heels splayed warmly across chewed gum, dogshit, crushed bottle cap. Her foot on the pavement. There is no looking past it. No one informs her that she cannot stand there, her face bared to the afternoon sun, her body twisting to feel the air twist around it. No one makes this impossible.

She has been clarified. Dented, slashed, bent, whipped, cracked, slapped, kicked, thrown, scalded, pushed, yanked, punched, gored.

Clarified by her time in the dark. In the desert. In the maze.

Pieced together furtively, fingers trembling in the dark, slipping, eyes swollen shut, heart and womb cauterised, knowing that there would always be enough work for the next night. And again. Again.

She stands.  Is.

She turns to the sunlight, her sweat rising to it, rising.

(honouring survivors, ahead of Family Violence Prevention and Awareness Month, November 2017)

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