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Poetry: Just a Woman

An emotional poem by Elizabeth Lymer, showing that our own issues can sometimes blind our judgement.

“You’re only a woman.
“You’re only a woman.”
My mouth hangs open.
What? Only a woman?


With thuds I thump down each plate.
I’m not bothered if the baby wakes up.
Suds itch my hands as I huff and wait.
Feeling angry. I would be washing up.


Dumbfounded, spinning, I try to stand tall.
Before now, my brothers haven’t pushed my relegation.
My honoured rights fragment, shattering down the wall;
I have felt this abstraction from compatriots of my nation.


Breeding true respect made raising children my decision,
Yet I am splintered at home – his words keep resounding.
They are weapons against women, making cold incisions,
Deep and sticky – I have failed him and all surrounding.


Is he sizing me up by looking through some frame;
Concluding character through -istic connotations;
Keeping up pretences that peoples are the same;
Ignorantly perpetrating cultural abominations?


I wince. His mouth again comes open.
He articulates again his new authority,
“You’re not a girl, you’re a woman,”
He grins at me, and nods repeatedly.


Instantly, the shards flicker and rise,
Shimmer, twist and melt into a haze,
The crystals prick and sting my eyes,
My migraine deconstructs my narrow gaze.


I thank God I listened through my defensive.
I was projecting on a boy who’s merely three.
“I am a woman.” And I resolve to clear my senses
To discharge the wound up girl who writhes inside me.



Elizabeth Lymer is a stay-at-home mother who is often inspired by her own misunderstandings to feel compassion first when she
meets with fear and judgement from non-Muslims.