They stand, side by side, arms stretched, backs bent, holes in their sides pouring blood and light.
I am one of them.
There is a dark woman next to me, her large eyes vast oceans of knowledge I will never have. A black river of blood runs from her nose as her sinews tense and shred, the weight too much.
They never said the sky was light.
We have everything in common, all beating hearts, balloon lungs, and the men that sit on our piece of sky.
Men that sit on everyone’s piece of sky.
Our feet flatten under their weight, broaden, turn into oceans of veins and skin colours.
I do not know the woman next to me but she is me with flat feet, balloon lungs and her own piece of heavy sky, the burden we were given.
Every bird I see is the bird I found when I was a girl, flightless and wrinkled and motherless. I put it in a nest I built of too much mud and dead grass, dried in the fiery sun that men believe shines for them. Every bird I see is this bird, its beak uttering the words
“This is not for you, this is not your burden.”
But it is.
All of these women are my mother, feet broadening and the sea coming out of their eyes. We all have hearts that splinter ribs with love and hope and anguish and fear.
They say women hold up half the sky to keep the sun that shines for men.
We hold the entire sky.
The sun does not shine for you.
Emily Hollenberg is a twenty-two year old English Literature and Creative Writing student at Alma College in Michigan. Her main hobbies include writing novels, poetry, short stories, blogging, and being a women's and mental health advocate. She hopes to move to England and become a professional writer.