I love running fingers
through dark curly hair.
Seeing a long sharp nose and
strong square chin.

You look at me like an army to conquer
like I’m meek and mild, but I’m seething with malice.

Even while I dance, 
you’re watching at my friend,
wondering at her basket, wanting to touch it,
rough it, pry it open, leave your mark upon it. 

If your gaze strays from my hips
the truth is in my eyes.

Instead, you underestimate me,
you undervalue us and you are mistaken.
Patriarchy meets the immovable object of the feminine.
I am silk in the evening. I am steel in the night.

I am creator and destroyer.
I am become Savior to my people.

Because your locks have lost their luster.
Your sparkling eyes turned silent and surprised,
unlike my nerves, alight with hope and heat,
as I steal through the darkness toward my own lamp.

I am liberator and deliverer.
I am warrior and an army will tremble in dawn’s early light.