Photo credit: Aliyah Jamous
By Rianne Salenga
When a woman shows you she is strong,
do not take this as an invitation to break her.
No, she is not fragile –
but she did not walk barefoot on
the shards of her doubts, trip on
the rocks of her failures, skin her
knees on broken promises,
only to show you that she will stand again.
When you hear the quiet confidence
in her voice, do not take lightly the words
“need” and “want” from her mouth.
She has been alone
on this uncertain road long enough
to know the difference.
And these syllables can only dance
off her tongue, and twine with your name
when properly invited.
So when this woman
whose veins have survived fire,
tells you that the lilt of your laughter is
her favorite song,
and she welcomes your eyes
like honey on her naked skin,
when she tells you your breath
smells like her kisses mixed with the oranges
you ate off her fingers –
Believe her, and be still.
This is how you keep her.