The Walled-In Women

By Selma Nieuwoudt (aka Selma Newforest)

“….and she scores!” For 90 minutes the screen of her mobile made her small enough to squeeze through the bars of her holding cell. As the joy of watching agile feet fades, she gathers courage to climb her mountains for the day: laundry, floors, a bath if there is energy to spare. On good days, she chops wood and gathers pine cones for the winter hearth.

She makes art during the always-too-short times when her medication kicks in. Some days she has to scuffle alongside the walls when the pain pulls her inside herself. Visitors are a fantasy, and phone calls dried up when her tongue and throat turned to stone.

She is a walled-in woman. Isolated, fatigued, pain-gnawed. The internet is the window in her cell and she does more than look at the view. She is a feminist. She fights for women. She fights for lesbians, knowing she’ll most likely never feel the soft womanwarmth of a beloved in her embrace again.

She is strong. A shieldmaiden. On her sword is engraved courage. Her shield is painted with compassion. Sometimes her armour gets too heavy and she stumbles under the burden, but she’ll get up. She always does.


Her needs are simple and her plans are big. She has a vision of women’s communes. She wants to build bridges to connect women in a world where men made borders. She wants togetherness with women. She wants to transform bomb craters into pools where women can soak their feet and laugh in the sunshine.

She dances in her heart. For you. Her feet kick up dust to make you laugh. Her heart-voice sings you healing. Heart-eyes see your pain and you are never less-than to her.

I am a walled-in woman. There are many like me. Speak to us, we listen. Show your wounds, we will bandage them. Call us to battle, we will fight. We can be a community. We are your sisters. We love you.

Heart, Under The Sky