See him there? He’s the one who killed me,
who stole my breath.
He thought to quiet me, to stop me from speaking; but he is one of many who thought brutality and abuse could stop my voice, one of many who sought to silence me through fear. One of many whose eyes are not only for his betrothed but for other men’s wives and lovers. Then he wipes his filthy hands across my womb.
And now he looks upon my face.
He cannot see the millions of women around me; the children who have died because of the cruelty of men like him.
Tell him this, no, wait, I’ll tell him myself, through the whispers of the dead.
To you, sir; your brutality has cut us down and continues to do so. Your evil cruelty spews vicious lies from your sour mouth.
My sisters gather their strengths, their wisdom, their courage.
With heads held high we march from the open doors of libraries and schools, courtrooms and kitchens; we rise in a tidal wave of fury built from centuries past.
We walk together; warriors, women of intellect and great passion. Boudica, Joan de Arc, Elizabeth, Hypatia and Cleopatra. Women who have fought for our rights with blood and words; Rosa, Mary, Emmilene, Elizabeth and Susan, and see o’er there…Harriet walks beside the ante-bellum sisters, Sarah and Angelina.
We’ve heard your diatribe of poison against all that is feminine, just as we always have. Ah, but this time we are ready, assembled en masse to fight for our rights like never before.
You, and others like you—men without eros and wisdom, soulless men—will fall to the ground as the blood of our fallen sisters washes over you.
No longer will the curtain be drawn upon my face.
No longer will others with evil thoughts get to choose when I will be seen and heard.
My time is now.
The smile upon my face is not, as you prefer to see, one of passion.
Think of this, sir.
See this dress I wear?
See the shades of red?
The bright tone of youthful blood, the ripe cherry red of new birth, and the crimson blood of the wise and aged crone.
Yes, sir, when’ere you run your fingers o’er my dress, know that you touch the blood from our wombs.
This is the lure of my death painting, and the artist’s secret.
What’s that I hear you say? You hear the whispers of my voice? You wonder how this is possible. You cry with frightened eyes as you back away from my portrait.
A swish of silks and taffeta, and my smile broadens as I step forward, released from the chains of your imprisonment.
I raise a hand and point to your face.
I shake my head.
Women flood into the room.
You turn and run to your pawns, but they have fled like rats.
I fear you not,
but you need fear me.
You created me,
you created my wrath.
My time is now.