Woman poem

This poem was dually prompted, once by the prompt for day 13 of my Write Yourself Alive writing course to write a caption/poem/story for a picture from Instagram and also by a challenge to use a line from a poem to write my own. I will post the picture (one of a woman going up stone stairs) when I get permission from the photographer. The poem I took the first two lines from is Leah Umansky’s “Khaleesi Says.”

I’m no ordinary woman, she says.
My dreams come true.
It’s only after they become real that I realize I don’t actually want them.
Some of them, that is.
The others are just as you’d imagine: exhilarating, intangible, surreal.
I don’t take any of it for granted.
But neither do I only have luck to thank.
I worked hard, goddammit.
No one handed me any of it.
And when they look at me like I don’t deserve to be where I am,
I know what it took.
When they call my decisions unwise and blame my gender,
I remember:
I remember living the dreams that turned to nightmares once their gender got involved,
once men started breathing their vodka breath at me and touching me like it was their right.
I remember the decisions I made to keep my dreams unsullied,
to try to stop men from sticking their hands all over them.
Wise or not, I did what I had to do.
So maybe I shouldn’t be where I am, but not because I don’t deserve it.
I made my dreams come true.
I am no ordinary woman.

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