I put on my gladiator T-shirt from Rome,
And my big black boots with the base.
I am the gladiator, I am the pain inside me,
I am the disease and the virus and the crypt
And I will creep through your veins,
Through the heart of your being, and I,
This dark female form of shadow and pain,
This warrior woman with no mercy for self-pity,
This figure you feared, called evil for years,
Subjected like a slave to existence
And existence could not be without her;
And I feel the pain of my ancestors,
The torment in my gut after all those years hunched
In a cell wrought by too much patience.
I’m the ink blot blocking the words scrawled beneath,
The black bird calling from the tops of the trees
The shadowy self that is tied to your feet,
The piercing truth shining from floorboards beneath.