culture · Family · poetry · women's issues

The Standoff

Men prefer a reserved lady,
Mother was quick to admonish,
ashamed of my hot temper,
the tear in mud-soaked stockings
the call that came from the boy’s mother.

But I was born with a fervid passion,
a sense of justice igniting a fire within –

Women need to stand up,
I lectured her, to declare our rights
a concept that fell on closed ears.

She’d continue to take father’s abuse,
apologize for under-salted broth,
or too thick gravy, for lingering
too long in conversation at the market,
or letting us kids dare to raise our voices.

And I’d continue to clock any boy
who dared to say that girls can’t….

Neither of us able to reverse
the inequity we suffered.

(For Ragtag Community’s challenge: fervid; and Fandango’s, reverse.) Image from personal collection.