that woman down the street
with the magpie eyes
and the skin that shrinks away from touch.
She's a firework,
that woman with the ramrod spine:
she says she doesn't need a man
and two joined hands at the altar
are two hands wrapped in chains.
They murmur about her,
those women up the road -
in the grocery, at the bank -
painting whispered targets on her turned back.
They are caged birds, she says:
silent slaves in their own homes
tucking helpless husbands into bed
and wiping liquor-stained kisses
from their lips.
She lives outside of their boxes,
that woman with warnings splashed over her skin.
She lives strangely, gloriously.
Her skin is her own;
her words belong to her own lips.
Much better, she thinks, to rule alone
than to hide meekly behind a man;
much better to be a rocket, a supernova,
a voice cutting through the chaos and the chains
like a meteor
blazing through the heavy dark.