You remember the film where the man played a trick
on the woman’s mind? He hid her keys
over and over until she believed in her own insanity
rather than his cruelty—an easy thing to do.
It makes me think of you, Anita, and your two long years
gaslighted in dark law chambers,
the man meant to be your mentor amusing himself
because he had all the power and you had none,
because he knew you would never say a word because
he could persuade them it was all in your mind
because he believed he could do whatever the hell he
wanted. And the country said he was right.
It was gaslighting at its best, taking you through
a looking-glass of shattered images.
But the one ending up shattered? It wasn’t you. They
believed his lies and called you names,
and still you found the strength to do the impossible.
You heard the voices of a hundred of your
mothers, saying rise up. Saying, no more. Saying,
I matter. And on that day you stood strong,
stood and spoke the truth with a voice that was mocked,
with a voice that was disparaged and hated,
with a voice that has echoed down the decades,
and tried to give the world back to little girls.
Jeannette de Beauvoir is a bestselling author of mysteries and historical fiction as well as a poet who lives and works in Provincetown, Massachusetts. Her work has appeared in the Blue Collar Review, Wild Violet, Here, the Adirondack Review, and the New England Review. More at jeannettedebeauvoir.com