no woman no cry.

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No Woman, No Cry

You of the female tribe,
through time have learned to redefine
visions of heaven.
For hell is an empty cupboard
where mothers turn kitchen tables into altars,
head resting on clasped hands,
praying for a bit of food
to fill the empty bellies of babies.

You beg for salvation from bill collectors
and avoid the endless ring of phones;
stacks of envelopes that equate what you owe
with who you are.
You, whose daughters
give birth to still-born dreams,
bear fruits of labor
swinging from vines that bind you to this place.

Here in the wasteland of broken homes
you watch and wait
from behind cracked windows,
your elbows
wearing grooves into sills;
eyes glassy, body still,
and nose pressed into pane.

Oh Mary, don't you weep;
Joseph is never coming home.
But your bones are strong enough
to bear the weight
of all he has left behind.

Retreat from the window
instead, look inside.
The roots of strength
lie within
holy trinity re-defined
as mother and child and the spirit that guides,
the patron saint of single-parent lives.

And this is a psalm for you;
a balm to soothe the wounds
of walking the road alone,
two feet filling four shoes.
This path, you did not choose
but you will bear it was your own
for that's what strong women do;
back broken yet head held high,
knowing the future relies on you.

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