by Jen Burrows

Women have served all these centuries as looking glasses possessing the magic and delicious power of reflecting the figure of man at twice its natural size. – Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own

Not yet satisfied
with owning the flesh and bone
of me, you prise me open,
like an oyster or an oracle,
and lay claim to the pearl within.

Choose my confessions
carefully: what is it
that my still-beating heart
can say in your hands
that it can’t in my chest?

Your words are the prophecy
I echo back faithfully –
your spit on my tongue,
your laws scripted
into my skin – my eyes
the looking glass
you ask to reflect you back
at twice the size.

But there’s a disturbance
in the mirror with a mind
of her own. The heart you hold
is turning cold to the touch.
I’m not your oil-well, not your
blood-bank, not your fairground prize
and I will not beget your lies.
I am sick of squinting in the dark

cast by your shadow, tired
of replaying your victories.
Now, I’ll take back my history,
and you will watch me rise:
watch me march, watch me

pass through the glass
and find my own words,
small and brave
and beautiful,
between my teeth.

I will speak
and my answer
will betray
your call.

Jen Burrows | @girlglitch

Jen works in TV drama, writing poetry behind the scenes. She’s also a music blogger, bookworm and feminist fuelled by green tea.

Support Dear Damsels

Words are empowering – not only for the women who write them, but those who read them too.

Join our Patreon and help us continue to offer an inclusive and welcoming space for women to come together, share their words, and get a resounding response back.

Sign up to our Patreon