“Ain’t I a Woman Now?”
by Melanie Dorsey
Steady now, as I climb this slippery slope.
See, I’ve just begun to understand
That for all these years – 48 for the record
I’ve sojourned to “become.”
I’ve longed for validation from the outside,
Hoped the crowd would acknowledge
And, embarrassed to say, even celebrate
Some “thing” in me.
Wondered, dreamed and over-analyzed what I ought to be
When I grow up.
Now here I am on the north side of a half century
To make my point, take my stand.
Growing older, growing up and growing spiritually,
I embraced, yea even chased, the process of “becoming.”
And now I see the path has changed its course.
My woman-self has blossomed (What a funny word!)
From the seed of bald and beautiful Baby Girl,
To the wonder years of fun like Christmas morning.
Segue to unsure and awkward days of what I thought was ugly
Then another sun rose and the ugly was not so.
But the stain stayed and no amount of cleaning,
And thinking and wishing it were different made a difference.
A miracle of nature – the hot and blinding light through yonder clouds
Bleached that spot of “never,” “can’t” and “won’t.”
Perhaps ascending hills and stiff-legging it down the valleys
Made me strong and I not knowing.
My lungs breathe deeper now,
And I slow, but not from weariness, only to dig awhile.
I write and recite my poetry
With fingers raking beneath the top soil,
To turn up the richness
Of the midnight black fertility.
My verse is the voice of femininity,
Calling out from the depths of a holy place
Submission and stating my case
Opposite sides – not necessarily.
Steady now, as I find my feet on this new turn in the path.
My prayer, the same as Apostle Paul’s – “to learn to be content.”
I borrow the rhetoricality of Sojourner Truth, “Ain’t I a woman now?”
I learn my lessons well.