I lived in the wall, between the wilderness
and stony Jericho. Because I would not hide
behind a veil, or let myself be shut from light,
I belonged nowhere. Listen, daughters, if
you pay the price, you have a choice. I chose
this: a cot, a robe I would take off. Myself.
Outside my window, naked sand lay undulant
with heat; at my door, men panted to come in.
To press against a woman at the edge.
To break me. Daughters, my breast was silk,
the rest of me stood hard, closed against siege,
trumpeting braggarts and their body blows.
That’s how I fed my family, brothers who spat,
sisters who scuttled from me in the market.
And then the Hebrew spies looked into me,
full in the eyes, and kindness broke me open.
Whoever was their god, that god was mine.
Daughters, let no one else define your enemy.
I slipped them out, and let the city die. Saved
in the tabernacle of my belly, you and your
children’s children travel far. A red cord joins
your life to mine, my heart pumping for yours
until you push into a larger space. Daughters,
a time will come when every wall falls down.