only a woman

by Sumayyah Talibah

we are hidden figures
regulated to the shadows
pulling the strings from behind the scenes
until they need us to be seen
draped across arm and chaise lounge and silver screen
our collective beauty seems
to be the sum of our worth
only a woman indeed
we’ve cured disease and sent ships to space
built and dismantled nations
yet still are told to know our place
when the glass breaks
protect your head
the ceiling is coming down
there are odes written
to the shape of our hips
wars started
for want of our lips
entire generations learn lessons at our feet
only a woman indeed


Artwork:  “Values” by Lisa Novogrodski   See more on her blog!

Sumayyah Talibah lives in Michigan with 1 husband, 2 children, 2 cats, and hundreds of books. She cobbles together a living with poems and beads at SumayyahSaidSo. With poems appearing in Liberated Muse Volume 1: How I Freed My SoulLiberated Muse Volume 2: Betrayal Wears a Pretty FaceDear Sister: Letters From Survivors of Sexual Violence, Revolutionary Mothering: Love on the Front Lines, self-published zines,  short stories, poetry collections, and a novel-in-progress under her belt, Sumayyah Talibah is finally making strides toward becoming a household name. She has also been known to make jewelry, write book reviews, and be the Avon lady. She can also be found on Twitter and Instagram.


6 thoughts on “only a woman

  1. There are so many amazing lines in here, but the ones that stood out to me the most are these: “when the glass breaks//protect your head.” In a very male-dominated field, I was often made to feel that my contributions could only get me so far…and when they got me a TEENSY bit further than expected, I’d have to watch out for the fall-out from everyone else.

    Liked by 1 person

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