1. When I was a child, I thought my hair a leash, an agony, a nest for rats, so I took up my scissors to hack and slice and cut until it was gone. I spat in the eyes of those who called my hair a crown and glory, till I became a woman, and I learned of how saints and martyrs had laid mantles over holy things, and I then grew to see every wave, tangle, and wisp to be such a mantle for my head and body.
2. A woman’s teeth sank through a ruby-red rind and sin entered in to the world. A woman brings her maid to her husband and bids him to take her as he would a wife. A woman was deceived. A woman opened the box and let loose evil. A woman, a woman, a woman!
3. When I was a child, you declared the needle and thread symbols of captivity, of servility, of submissiveness, so I put away my needle and thread and shoveled down any desire for fear of looking weak. I let you tell me how to interpret these forms, till I became a woman, and I learned how my foremothers used the needle and thread to bind civilizations, and then I grew to see how it was my mother and grandmother and her mother before her who taught me my culture.
4. A woman’s heels rested upon the moon and stars. A woman’s hand struck a wooden stake through the temple of her enemy’s skull. A woman bears the image of God and His Bride. A woman bears the image of a nation and a people as they bleed for their freedom. A woman, a woman, a woman!
5. When I was a child, I thought my body a monster, a cage, a prison cell, so I counted the days until I could dye my hair henna-red and hide my eyes with colored glass and adorn every inch of flesh with vibrant color so no one would see it. I raged at the Divine for giving me such a body as this, till I became a woman, and I saw the beauty in the softness of my stomach and the angles of my bones, and I grew to see the perfection of my grandmother Eve even in my imperfect form.
6. I am the woman, flesh carved from bone, and hair a holy mantle over my body. I am the woman, the daughter of a mother whose Son crushed the heads of snakes. I am the woman, entrusted language and wisdom and heritage. A woman, a woman, a woman!