-Lisa Kendrick, Norfolk, VA

She couldn’t be a feminist
and hide the truth…
she couldn’t cover for Him
her whole life
even though she had buried the truth
like a pearl,
an angry grit of sand
that she had polished
till the pain of it became bearable.

But that pearl swelled
dark and iridescent
a constant reminder of ugliness
her being yearning for its release until…
one day she ejected its darkness,
an alien she had been forced to succor.

With that she became the enemy
who had dared to purge herself of injustice…
she became the pariah…
the black sheep…
the family whore…
she became a stained vessel
who was deemed either a malicious liar
or a caustic bitch who had dared
to break the silence.

She defiled the family name
because it would have been just fine
FOR THEM
if she had just kept His secret
buried the night a family member
raped her innocence and
forgotten the trauma
she had lived with her whole life.

That pearl of wisdom
as dark as the crime
the color she made into her mantle
the day she broke her silence
the day her family disowned her
for the crimes of having been a child
who didn’t want to rock the boat
and then becoming an adult
who let go a tsunami.

She couldn’t be a feminist
and hide the truth…
she couldn’t cover for Him
her whole life…
sometimes you can’t disguise an injustice…
sometimes silence makes you an accomplice…
sometimes your hidden pearl
deserves to be divulged…
so that your bleeding wounds can become scars.

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