stripping away

In my attempts to finish my 30 things for 30, I am working on lots of reading, and also reading poets outside my normal pool. I picked up a book of Alice Walker's poems (author of The Color Purple) at the town dump  and was pleasantly surprised at what I found. Here is one gem:

"On stripping bark from myself"
Because women are expected to keep silent abouttheir close escapes I will not keep silent
and if I am destroyed (naked tree) someone will
please
mark the spot
where I fall and know I could not live
hearing their "how nice she is!"
whose adoration of the retouched image
I so despise.

No. I am finished with living
for what my mother believes
for what my brother and father defend
for what my lover elevates
for what my sister, blushing, denies or rushes
to embrace.

I find my own
small person
a standing self
against the world
an equality of wills
I have lived to understand.

Besides:

My struggle was always against
an inner darkness: I carry within myself
the only known keys
to my death - to unlock life, or close it shut
forever. A woman who loves wood grains, the colour
yellow
and the sun, I am happy to fight
all outside murderers
as I see I must.

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