I am part of a circle of women. Underground women. We are known but nobody sees us. Eyes half-closed and swollen, we stand in a web, a stringy cotton, a thick haze of despair. We are strong. Stronger than we imagined. We have to be. We have to lift cars for fun. Every fiber being tested, each cell being called, as we beg over and over again, “Will it come?” Will it come?
I am a part of a circle of women. Shoulder to shoulder, sometimes only looking up or looking down or looking within, so we forget that there are others nearby. I am right here. And you are there. And thank God for that. It doesn’t matter if we’re friends or where we came from or what stories we carry, in this circle we sway because we’re the same. It’s the quiet, the silent sting, the swelling up, the mourning someone we never touched, only felt, the shadow of a future. In that, we hold hands. In that, lastima overtakes me until it feels like I’ll be swallowed by our collective loss. I wish I could chase down your wish and mine.
I am part of a circle of women. Humbled by the elusive, made vulnerable by the wanting. How do you make a miracle happen? You wait. Wait longer. Give. Give more. Relax but drive. Let it go but go after it. Believe. Surrender. Regret and push and count and accept and get angry. What is the way to peace here? We’re not making a scene now. We’re hushed now. Don’t cry now. Move on now. How can we?
I am part of a circle of women who wake up each day empty. Such stillness it could cause a war. We hold our breaths. We sleep with eyes open because a gift might come in the middle of the night and we can’t afford to miss it. We walk through each day with one hand wiping back tears, and the other clubbing a way through the jungle. With a machete. With our fingernails. With our ferocity. With our fear. Is it working? Is anybody listening? Could there be nothing more?
Maybe today there is nothing more. Maybe I have to be okay with that. Maybe it’s just the daring courage to hope and my place in this circle that keeps me going on.