I never knew her

I never had the chance to know her,
to feel her, to drink in the essence that was hers alone
I was too young and her song had been stilled
long before I became aware.

Yet my uncle cried when, as a young woman,
he saw my long tresses tied in a braid –
“Your hair is hers – you look so much like her.”
and gently held my hand as his eyes missed in memory.

Still later it seemed I was too often told how I carried
her essence within me, her ways were my own
and I trembled . . . .for the hand that stilled her breath
was her husband’s and well I knew the bite a lover can make.

And within my core, the spinning of my soul,
my hand reached through those hazy, mist years
to join with hers, to listen to the message she needed to pass down,
and in the softest of whispers she murmured . . .

“Leave him my dear – learned from my shattered skull
for even unbroken it was no more than  tattered pieces.”
the words needing voice feathered away in fear.
“hear from my ear, ripped from my head.”

“Speak words of freedom with the teeth knocked from my mouth,
Yes, you may be as I once was, yet you are more;
the power I denied myself is the legacy I pass to you,
so no child of ours will go homeless, unloved, misunderstood –
no child of ours will be stooped with premature age.

“My daughter, on my whispered words of freedom, fly!”

was that

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