She'd Known Then

Poem by Max Jarvis, illustrations by GoodStrangeVibes

she'd known then

the way the sand danced across her fingers as she knelt in the waves and gave herself to the sway of the tide

she'd known then

in every thursday morning café where strangers bustled with espressos and pastries but she took time for herself

in every stir and turn of the page that felt like the stability of a hug

she'd known then

when andrea said "would you like to go on a date with me" and "we could go to that little rock place by the seafront"

where they'd kissed once before but only because the cider and vodka had asked for it

Illustration by GoodStrangeVibes

she'd known then

in how her mother's pearl necklace felt against her skin and nestled in the hairs

cloaked her heart and kept it warm in public bathroom stalls

she'd known then

in the antique store where her fingers had traipsed through the trinkets and jewels

where she'd accidentally tripped on some rogue mary janes but laughed at the clothes rail that saved her

the one that gave her a torn six pound fifty dress

she'd known then

that time where all she could do was exist in bed and feel the weight of her body say 'this is you'

what was once a crushing weight was now an anchor that kept her there

in self-affirmation of i am exactly where i need to be and my pain is my strength

Illustration by GoodStrangeVibes

she'd known then

in every masc day and fuck them day

the way she smiled at her stubble and pulled on her boots in the mastery of self-respect

she'd known then

the way only a woman could retain her grace under the hands of a cop

that patted her down and breathed on her neck

in the street where she stood tall on the embers of her cigarette and the eyes of those who watched her

she'd known then

when blind ugly rage called for forgiveness

to which she kissed her knuckles stained red and purple like the veins of a rose

touched up her lippy and grabbed a coke and kebab

she'd known then

in those small minutes past midnight where her mind was her own and worshipped by the stillness

to which it knelt at her feet to tell her

you define womanhood

it is yours


Poem: Max Jarvis

Illustration: GoodStrangeVibes

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