When she speaks, her words
get absorbed into a vacuum,
where nothing escapes, nothing is heard,
nothing is noticed, and nothing ever changes.
Sometimes it’s like she’s a ghost –
if she punched someone, they wouldn’t perceive it.
It’s systemic, but it’s also personal,
especially for her and the sisterhood
to which she belongs.
I want to stand with her,
to be her ally, yet
only she can find her own voice,
only she can speak her own words,
and so I pray, truly I pray,
that I am authentic,
that I am listening,
that I hear her.