Before I Was a Woman

by Elizabeth Gassimi

It happened long ago,
Before I was a woman.

Another woman,
Consecrated to God – she wore his ring
And hid her hair –
Was taken and thrown down
Like a forsaken rag doll.
Her face pressed onto the cold marble floor
By a dark, lost Beast who surprised her while she prayed alone.

Her life flashed before her
As she cried and pleaded
While behind her,
He plundered her soul forever,
Sweating and groaning from the effort.

She’d been a cloistered innocent:
A grandmother’s age,
But with a child’s experience.

It happened in, of all places, God’s house,
With smooth, carved wood pews and solemn statues the only witnesses.

Her sobs, her pleas,
Echoing just steps away from
The altar where she’d labored
And knelt in adoration for so many decades.

Did the Father and the Son
Hear The Beast shouting
That he’d kill her if she refused to kneel for him
And his hatred and shame?

Did the acrid stench
Of her fear overpower the
Sweet incense perfume?

Did those adorable
Carved cherubs cover their ears
With their tiny wings
When she gave up and wished a very un-Christian wish
For death
As a single, silent, hot tear fell?

No one but she,
The Beast who took her by force,
And her God
Know exactly what happened
In those excruciating moments.

And only she knows how
She was able to forgive The Beast,
Which she told us later she did.

And even though I wasn’t a witness,
I will never forget
What The Beast did to one who believed
That being
Untouchable would save her.

Long ago,
Before I’d learned what it meant
To be a woman.

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New York City native Elizabeth Gassimi (“Liz”) left the United States in 2011, lived in Mexico City for almost a year, and has been enjoying the hot weather and fabulous food in Merida, Yucatan since 2012. Liz is a full-time teacher of English as a Foreign Language and holds a BA in English and Journalism from The City University of New York. She has always enjoyed writing and started keeping a journal at the age of ten. Several of her poems have been published in literary magazines.
She also loves gardening, photography, reading, and visiting art galleries. Sometimes on the weekends, you can spot Liz with her camera, walking around the Centro, looking for photographic opportunities.


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