a three pronged collar,
the choke of silence, non dichia niente
endured by grandmother, mother, me.
We were voiceless wrens: insufficient, meager,
the mumbling of prayer,
the whimpers of acquiescence.
Words, swallowed for years,
their spiraling tentacles
sustained by wave after wave of women:
Gloria Steinem, Betty Freidan
Shirley Chisholm, Rosa Parks,
Joan Baez and Janis Joplin.
Women who unsnapped, unhooked from convention;
who burned their burdens
to rise whole,
to rise ruby- throated,
queens of their larynges,
their pens their scepters,
and in discovering their voices
I heard my own.
Lu Pierro is a Creative Writing Major at Warren Community College. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Ars Poetica, Natural Awakenings, US1, Blast Furnace, If and Only If, and Threeandahalfpoint9, East Fork among other journals. She is the recipient of both the Dodge Foundation Scholarship and the Dorothy E. Laurence Scholarship from the Fine Arts Work Center in