By: Lydia Solodiuk
Mount Holyoke College, MA, USA
All of you have shells scarred
with the ravages of patriarchy
detailing old fights,
some of which you lost.
It was a world full of predators and struggle, so you learned
to live in your shells
Turtle women, you tell me to vomit my words onto the page
while you purse your closed lips.
Turtle women, you ask me to undress so you can fix me my broken body
while you stand there in your buttoned-up white coat and cashmere turtleneck.
Turtle women, you request my whole life story told in numbers and factoids
while you robotically type at your workstation.
You hide your true selves in the name of doing your duty.
In my parent’s living room, hidden in the pages of a dusty scrapbook,
there’s a picture of a bright-faced little girl staring
eye-to-eye with a turtle at the zoo,
separated by a piece of glass.
They teach us young feminists to smash glass ceilings,
but not how to speak through the glass walls that separate
us from you beautiful turtle women
Someday I’d like to walk with you,
to truly know you and understand the scars that roughen your shells and toughen your hearts.
But now I’ll just observe from the other side of the glass,
in admiration of beauty