Please note: this piece contains strong language
‘Naw’ was the first of the sounds
She made as an infant child
In the very first grade.
‘Naw’ she said with her lips pressed
Firm, to the teacher whose attempt to
Impose her didactic will
‘No’ she said with a poise unfamiliar
To impress the Mother of that months love.
‘Fuck off’ she said to the man who betrayed her
In the arms of another.
‘N.O.’ she said to the husband who thought her a Mother, Sister,
Wife, but not Partner.
‘No’ she said with the tears aflowing, her heart abreaking
And grief unknowing
To the adult daughters who forbid her speech
Or the right to question, or dig further deep.
‘Yes’ she said, to a life lived lone