Not all

From when I was young,
Family friend Auntie would come and sit,
Approach me,
Eyes brilliant and bulging with the weight of knowledge,
And she would say:

“Never get married.
Never in your life.
It’s a miserable existence
To be someone’s wife.”

And my heart would race,
And my eyes would widen,
Perhaps I would have appreciated the joke had it not been for

The way my mother’s hands trembled as she sat.
And
The way the walls of each house
Held more screams, rage, sadness
Than the one before it.
And
The way aunties and grandmothers and cousins and family friends
Smiled perversely with jaded eyes,
Said,
“Oh, marriage, oh, men,”
And began again.

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