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A Woman Speaks

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Moon marked and touched by sun   
my magic is unwritten
but when the sea turns back
it will leave my shape behind.   
I seek no favor
untouched by blood
unrelenting as the curse of love   
permanent as my errors
or my pride
I do not mix
love with pity
nor hate with scorn
and if you would know me
look into the entrails of Uranus   
where the restless oceans pound.

I do not dwell
within my birth nor my divinities   
who am ageless and half-grown   
and still seeking
my sisters
witches in Dahomey
wear me inside their coiled cloths   
as our mother did
mourning.

I have been woman
for a long time
beware my smile
I am treacherous with old magic   
and the noon's new fury
with all your wide futures   
promised
I am
woman
and not white.

Audre Lorde, “A Woman Speaks” from The Collected Poems of Audre Lorde. Copyright © 1997 by Audre Lorde. Reprinted with the permission of Charlotte Sheedy Literary Agency and W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., www.nortonpoets.com.
Source: The Collected Poems of Audre Lorde (W. W. Norton and Company Inc., 1997)
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A Woman Speaks

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