Once I was an empress

Once I was a bear

eating garlic in the dark

Once I was a cotton seed

smuggled in a brush cap

Once I was a woman

Once I played dirty politics

Once I unfolded my life

north of the border

Once I burned my youth into the March sun

and was arrested holding our flag

Once I left work to raise a daughter

Once I threw myself off a raging cliff

in grief for my country

I was three thousand women

and all they could do was name the cliff after my bloom

Once I braved assassination

Once I was a woman meant for comfort

Once I was born in ‘82

Once I died for my father’s eyes

and the moral was I would have done it again

and the moral was I would live anyway

and the moral was to dream with enough tooth and sacrifice

and one day the bear might turn into a woman

So I am equal parts

what the fuck would you want that so badly for

and give me the pen so I might also sign up

So America knows I am just overdraft, she’ll have to return me someday

So I might also volunteer myself onto the tree of death

So I might never die