the women in my family

by sarah duval


the women in my family

have small eyes

and big smiles


warm hearts

bones of lead

strong arms to carry the weight

of generations past and present


we are the motivators

the overachievers

we are the gatekeepers

the trend setters

we keep everything under control...


we choose which emotions are welcome

and which ones are not

we never let the outside see our inside


we move families to new countries

in search of opportunities

we clean houses

and work night shifts

we manage to squeeze our lover

and nine children

into a one-bedroom apartment in Brooklyn

we mourn our husbands

and embrace love again


we create a home

within ourselves

to nourish our soul

and those of others


we pray for hours

and sleep when we can

we lay awake anxious

and crave a deeper meaning

what happens when love stops giving?

who are we without our religion?


we let our dreams guide us

and our nightmares inhibit us


we’re still learning how to let go...


we hold grudges and cut ties prematurely

we don’t have time to contemplate loyalty


the women in my family

transform everything we touch

we bring forth new life

and build from the bottom up

we are unfazed by obstacles

if our mothers could, we can


we herd sheep

and slay shepherds

justice at our fingertips

we’ve come a long way


Sarah is a sophomore in the School of Public Affairs majoring in CLEG and Spanish Studies. On campus, she is involved with AUSG Women’s Initiative and serves as the 2019 Breaking Ground Monologues Director. She is passionate about justice, unity, and self-care. Her art is inspired by her identity, relationships, and family history.