It (Poem)

It (Poem)

When did it all begin?

 

When a young man, or an old boy,

Sat on top of me and held me down,

In jest, no more than a game?

When he hurled insults like snowballs,

Battering my fragile self

Into submission,

To contrition,

To belief?

 

I was a dog.

I was unsightly.

I could turn all I saw into stone.

With the underlying assumption,

Unspoken,

That nothing mattered

But my looks.


Or did it begin with a forest romp,

To find my two boy pals,

We, not quite eight?

And then I came upon them

In our cabin hideout,

Ogling Playboy.

 

And when I looked, myself,

Aghast:

Such ripened fruit! Such womanhood!

Well, then, they sought to soothe me, with

“You’ll look the same someday.”

 

And I ran home, a mess of tears,

Not from the photos, or their meaning,

(Or that someone posed for money,)

But because I knew,

Despite my prayers,

I ‘d never

Be a boy.

 

For there lay power, freedom, fun,

None of which I knew.


We glued a scrapbook, Father’s Day,

A magazine-cut loaf of bread,

Our paper homage to the man

Who won it. Could we live

Without the strings he pulled?

Who’d let us?

 

It was the way of the world.


Or did it begin when,

Prepubescent,

He and I wrestled

On the front lawn,

And a stranger, unbidden,

Assigned a motive,

And bade us

To take it inside?

 

When the shame came,

Rage ran alongside it,

My innocence being

Inviolate.

For purity, then,

Was a thing much prized,

And a source of

Maidenly pride.


Did I recognize it,

In a catty note

Passed among teens

To condemn early bloomers?

Surely “flaunting your wares”

Was inevitable,

In a class of the envious

flat-chested.

 

“Are you there, God, It’s me…”

was condemned

And forbidden.

To protect our purity?

Or nudge us to read it?

We were taught by old women,

By widows and spinsters,

Could they have been

Warning, covertly?


Or was it when, Sunday,

Our Mary would show us

The Way?

Of long-suffering,

Humbleness, meekness,

Obedience, chastity,

Children.

Who, someday, would grow

(some of them, who were male)

To be masters of women

Themselves.

 

‘Twas the way of the cross

And Christ’s suffering:

The stations to walk,

Up the hill,

To our deaths.


Or maybe much later,

Alone in a house,

Four teens,

One-to-one correspondence.

But while they made out in the boiler room

We looked at each other,

Indifferent.

 

Or when, I was found,

Early-twenties, again,

In a home, all alone, with two men,

My friend disappeared to a bedroom, and I–

I ignored my intended,

and drunkenly called

an old boyfriend.


Not every chance to be

Taken advantage of

Was a near miss.

There’s that “black” night,

Censored from memory:

Rum, and Coke,

And missing shoes.

 

But a lady does not let herself

be led

Into such situations.

Nor does she

Elucidate,

When asked about it,

later.

 

How convenient, for

Her co-conspirator,

To bear no burden for

Her Foolishness.

It was her fault

And hers alone:

For how was he to know?


And yet, gone abroad,

The rumor persists,

There’s no lassies more loose

Than Americans.

How does one reply

To disbelief

At one’s failure to remain

Disloyal?


An adult half past twenty,

A working young woman,

Or would-be:  the roadblocks continue.

Uncomfortable one-on-one interviews.

“Women drivers!”.  The burden of proof,

That we’re somehow still worthy,

Despite our frail sex,

of a job.

 

“Can you get them to trust you?

As a woman, I mean. They’re foreign,

And not as evolved.”

I swallow the wound,

And persist in my sales pitch,

Full-knowing, the battle is lost.

But weary, I wonder,

Why shuttle off bigotry

To other shores,

When we have got plenty

At home?


But worst of all insults,

Blow of all blows!

I felt the thrust of it, then,

Its earthy nature,

When, back at my desk

During baby leave,

A file box as a cradle,

I’m aching from stitches,

Minutes from milking,

My newborn stashed below.

 

And he enters, consentless,

My own breeding sanctum,

He acts like he owns it.

(He does.)

And unleashes opinion

(I needed to hear it:

‘Twas for my own good)

While I wince.

 

He addresses me,

Disdainfully,

His hairy arms akimbo:

Only to say,

“Were it not for your type,

I’d consider hiring women.”

 

Copyright Andrea LeDew 2017

 

 

 

1 comment on “It (Poem)Add yours →

The foregoing is merely my opinion. Feel free to comment or correct me below!