You were lost to me before I was born. When the ram’s horn blew and the temple walls
came tumbling down over my head, stone by stone, at Jericho. I lost you when I ran
into the forest, frightened and longing to see your pale face reflected under
leaves, in between rocks, your smile of courage egging me on. I lost you when little
girls were made to lie beneath the rude soldiers rescuing them, or the sweaty uncles
petting them, or the firm young brothers forcing the soft ones with songs on their
tongues. You were lost to me when the first midwife was throttled and drowned, when
they began to round up the healer women, looking for the devil’s teats on our
bodies, then lit the bonfires.
I lost you before the Peloponesian Wars, lost you again when the Mongolian hordes
rode their rough ponies through, lost you when the blue-tiled walls of Mikonos were
razed by Greek soldiers. Your body bruised and buried, encased in the bogs, your
memory and stories erased by Deuteronomy, by Hammurabai, by Zeus. You reign now only
as a faint shadow in the moon, but even there, re-named Old Man, until archeologists
unearthed your wide hips and round belly, bringer of rains, harvest, and safe berth.
Give us this day our daily bread, and let us eat, remembering. Instead, our female
children starve themselves bone-thin to repudiate your flesh, we slice it out of our
bodies, we hide it in our fat, we choke ourselves and vomit, re-enact that first
shame under the Tree, when making a human form, the labour it entails and the blood
that comes with each moon became a curse.
Oh let me rekindle that fierce mother love– and weep for the mother slayers. Can I
shield my daughter from the truth that she is powerful and because of that she may
be killed? This is your secret, the power of birth and the real miracle of blood
turning into milk (not water into wine). We, who rely on these first stories to
understand our place in the world, have had a bone stuck in our throats or should I
say, an apple core, for a long time.
Give me back my mother love, my rising star, my Venus, the sun’s circle of life: let
the man in the sky stop building missiles and fighter F14 jets for South Korea,
Iran, Pakistan, Israel and South Africa, let the Old Man in the US Senate hear the
voices of the women. Let the African governments hear the voices of their raped and
damaged daughters. Let the Lebanese women rise, let the Pakistani women rise, let
the Afghan women, the Chechen women, the Colombian women, the Rwandan women, the
Palestinian women, the Venezuelan women, the Chinese women, the Uzbekistani women,
let the women in the veil, the women in purdah, the women stoned to death, the women
doused with kerosene for their dowry, the women thrown down wells for honour, the
women sliced open and sewn shut, the women interred, let all the women remember you.
Your light was not always this dim.
~Jenn Boire, Mother-famine
Painting by Elisabeth Slettnes
To be included in upcoming Mother Earth book.