By: Anastasia DiFonzo
He speaks of nonviolence.
He preaches patience.
He laughs in childlike wisdom.
At the time of attack, simply stand.
You must simply wait.
Your body is a vessel, simply.
The pacifist knows this.
His insides have never been robbed.
He says be still; your soul
cannot be taken from you.
I nod. I tell him nothing.
My voice is my own.
It cannot be taken from me.
But my fist stands ready.
My heart dons her crown.
Peace is not submission.
I will not be taken from me.
He says perspective is choice;
a scream is either of love
or of fear.The past has no place here.
Things I don’t ask are-
do you see yourself inside-out,
reflex to pulse, pulse to heart, often?
Are you certain you’re still here?
We are certain you’re still here,
in the pounding of our ears,
the churning of our guts- incessant.
Certain you still walk,
feet calloused groin tight,
blood boiling less each night,
trained by our vessels, simply.
Anastasia DiFonzo (she/her) is a San Diego based poet with a cat named Klaus. Her work can be found or is forthcoming in Anti-Heroin Chic, Gnashing Teeth Publishing, Sledgehammer Lit, Punk Noir Magazine, Kalopsia Lit, Yasou!, Salt & Citrus, Tempered Runes Press, Button Eye Review, and Drunk Monkeys. She is on Instagram at @anastasia.difonzo and Twitter at @anmidaludi.
"I wrote this poem when I was spending a lot of time with the spiritual community, and noticed a trend of men encouraging women to transcend their bodily suffering. As someone who has experienced significant trauma, much of which involved my body and my identity as a woman and that I'd spent my whole life up to and beyond that point attempting to work through, I found this flippant attitude condescending and out of touch, not to mention wholly unrealistic.
In sharing this poem with the world, I hope to speak not only to that frustration, but also to the power we can find in standing up for ourselves and setting boundaries when necessary."