Mothers watch with weary, wary, tired eyes
from doorways and corners on every continent of this godforsaken world.
Stepping on cracks did, in fact, break their backs
but they bite their withered tongues and train their skin to shield the pain.
They watch their children
and the men they’ve become,
and they see girls weathering their withering tongues:
training them to speak in rhymes and riddles
and to speak no ill,
and they see girls growing thick their skins
ridding them of the ghosts of hairy hands
and men hunting them for the thrill.
The daughters get buried alive
in guilt and unheard rage and the weight of blood-ripped skin.
This pain wears and wars their tired eyes,
and as mothers of unwanted kin they cloak their eyes in shadow,
backs breaking from within.