(For International Women's Day 2013)
When her car finally went down the embankment to the sea
and she was sitting in the middle of the road, cars flying by,
hair on end, eyes wild, pouring tears for blood, screaming,
I just need some help, and no one was slowing down, much less
stopping, because this was Eastern Road and she was rough
around the edges, crazy with despair, maybe dangerous,
you were riding shotgun with me and you said, stop.
So I pulled over, heart slamming, this was just the sort of thing
that could land a woman like me in trouble. She stared
straight through us into the black sky of her madness, silent now.
We stood by the car calling to her, Hello, come out of the road!
She paid no mind. Traffic rose up around her like afternoon tide.
I’ll stay with her, you said, you go and call the police.
Minutes down the road I saw cruisers coming east,
three of them with lights flashing. Would there be a single
compassionate cop in any one of those cars to
rescue that woman with kind word medicine, a cup of tea,
a doctor, a drive home? I tried to believe yes, only comforted
by the fact that you had remained with her, Goddess
of the Invisible Ones, when they took her away to no one
knows where. You held her like a hurt child, whispering
in her ear, I see you, I see what you’ve been going through.
You listened when she told you the whole story that led
up to the car wreck, you stayed up through the long night
as she talked. When the sun rose you gave her a mirror, she looked,
saw herself, rising. You didn’t mind when to thank you
she called you by another god’s name, all that mattered was
that one more invisible woman had become visible to herself,
one more woman struggling in the island patriarchy had remembered,
she was real, she was good, she was someone worth fighting for.