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"... brevity is the soul of wit ..."
- William Shakespeare

Taylor Franson-Thiel

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Growing up under a mountain's foggy wings
Our mothers told us stories of our ancestry.
Women who, wandering, happened upon
towering mother bears and knew to show
their chests to the monarch as if to say
I too can suckle warriors. I too
have to hunt to keep my line alive.
And they all survived, unclawed.
But what if I always feel like there's a gun
pointed between my shoulder blades and a paw
at my throat? If hiding my chest feels safer
than having my body perceived? I never learned
when to roar and when to run. When to bare myself
before a woman who never had to question.