The awareness comes to the women in the form of a murmur from the soil dry;
or a ripple in the waters of a lake nearby.
It’s an awakening after humiliation of core and flesh.
At first, it looks like unravelling; then light gathers and becomes decision.
The women trail the humming earth, and trace the creasing surface of rivers.
They pause before an arch of vines intertwined.
They carry nothing but stories within their breasts;
but their voices stay trapped inside their souls shattered.
Shrouded in silence, they cross the ivy threshold,
to find themselves before a wide expanse of land bare.
The turf feels warm to the touch, and the women’s frames vibrate,
as their voices escape and pour onto the ground awaiting.
The land, now fecund with women’s tales, gives birth to lush roses of intense hues.
Time turns the garden into a place of wonder, enticing to the curiosity of men.
They travel to cross the emerald arch with eager hearts.
A woman of ageless strength beckons them closer to the luminous roses.
The men stand, muted and in awe, while the leaves, stems and petals drum a dim tune;
but soon the sound surges and shapes itself into a river of female voices.
I was discriminated.
I was violated.
I was underestimated.
I was ostracized.
I was mutilated.
The rush of words grows, even as the tears of men drown in the stories to the garden told.
Petra F. Bagnardi is a TV screenwriter, a theater playwright and actress, and a poet. She was short-listed in the Enfield Poets’ Twentieth Anniversary Poetry Competition, and her work was featured in several literary journals, including Masque & Spectacle Literary Journal, Punk Noir Magazine, Poetica Review, Red Door Magazine, Muddy River Poetry Review, and Drawn to the Light Press.