This poem is dedicated to the students of the Panther Anti-Racist Union (PARU) of Central York High School (especially Edha, Christina, Olivia, and Renee) for their justified fight against the Central York School Board's horrific ban on materials written by and about BIPOC, LGBTQIA+, and other marginalized people. Stand firm and remain undaunted! If you want to follow their struggle or donate to their cause, click HERE.
I Am Crying
I am crying.
And I am not a crier.
I am crying as I write this
because I have been strong
for too long.
That’s what tears are,
a sign that you have been strong
and carried a burden for too long.
But they are also an affirmation
to my soul
that I intend to keep carrying that load
as long as it takes.
I feel like I am suffocating
under a weight,
but I am fire
and I dare anyone to snuff me out.
I am crying
If you mistake this for weakness
Proceed at your own risk
I can’t run because
I am too fierce,
and I don’t walk well
infirmities have taken my knees,
but I can scream…
loudly I scream
I will make the universe
hear my voice and see me,
maybe even judge me,
but I fear no judgment
for as I stand before the Eye of that
which is greater than myself,
I know that I have been
A good and faithful servant
My voice has been heard in the wind.
My sacrifice witnessed by the stars.
My heart has trembled to the chords of angels
who came to console me
in my hour of need.
As I reach for my sword and shield
I am crying
I know the stakes and the sacrifice
But I also know
It is the difficulty of a stance
that makes it matter
I am crying
but...I will not deviate from my course!
My mare’s nickname is Double Stuffffff. The extra letters are not a typo. Maya’s gotten so fat, it’s now a medical concern. She is one of those thrifty types (like her mother). A good deep breath results in gaining 3-5 additional pounds. (Yes, social justice warriors, she is now wearing a muzzle. But she has chafed her face so badly, she’s now in solitary confinement in a dirt lot for an hour a day. And yes, the vet is involved. Back off. Unsolicited advice will be ignored.)
I got my beloved mare a size 60 girth from the plus-size store for horses, but it still took two people to get it on her. So I broke down and bought a girth extender. Having never used one, I didn’t think to use a smaller girth...I’m a science fiction/fantasy writer (emphasis on fantasy), I do words not numbers. I didn’t have the slightest worry that maybe the girth just wasn’t tight enough as I walked down to the ring to ride. 🙄
When I went to get on her from the grace of the mounting block, the goddamn saddle slid and I’m hanging off of her side like a decrepit Spider-Man. I’m 52 years old. Not at all fit or agile. My knees are shit, and if I were a horse, someone would have put me down for health reasons. And here I am hanging off my mare’s side like a trick rider.
The first and last time this happened to me, I was getting on a fit and mischievous, off-the-track Thoroughbred. I got planted hard enough to earn a 5.2 on the Richter Scale. I still have the bruise on my leg, and that was six years! A tattoo the doctor called it. I’d rather get the real thing. Far less painful!
Anyway! My magnificent mare is a sensible sort. Her favorite speeds are stop and slow. A stick-and-kick ride in every sense of the phrase. This is in the interest of preserving precious calories. She took one step away from the mounting block, and I thought, “Let the rodeo begin. This is one way to avoid going back to work.” Again, my mare took ONE step, stopped, and turned to look at me with an expression of “WTF are you doing? Is this the new protocol? This is too many calories.”
Bracing my old, cranky knees, I slid off and promptly gave Maya every cookie and peppermint in my pocket. Rules dictate that if you fall off, you have to get back on. Holding my breath, I tightened the girth, best I could, and climbed back on. Saddle still not quite tight enough, I walked and trotted a circle in both directions and went back to the barn—my bravery meter shattered. “All hail Queen Maya, may your tiara gleam for all eternity!”