Walking Thunder

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My mother said,

“before people hear the words you say,

they hear the sound your feet make

upon the ground.”

I stomped out of her closet

in smooth black heels that came to a sharp point

and cracked against the floor with each step.

She told me she was proud for the very first time.

I learned head held high

and shoulders back.

I practiced "no" in the mirror

with teeth bared.

I waltzed down the hallway,

careless and precise and dangerous.

I swayed my hips and

never bit my tongue.

Before I opened my mouth,

people were listening.

Something like pride,

rising from ashes,

eyes like fire,

and feet

marching marching marching.

This is not a destination.

This is a statement.

I fill up cathedrals

and classrooms

and back alleyways.

I fill up open mouths

and heavy heads

and wildly waving hands.

Tramping from room to room

killing connotations

with forceful rhythm.

I am powerful.

Listen.

Listen.

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