Who dies in their unholy war?
We have done it, survived, as bloodied Madonnas…
And borne the children.
I keep having dreams
Of pioneers and explorers and inventors.
I wake and hear in the air the cries of my grandmothers.
Women, martyred by the male war,
Entering finally the families,
A perfumed no man’s land.
Entering darkling mansions
Bought by men.
We can’t remember which came first,
The family or the home or the female thirst.
They took our surnames and made them theirs
And tried to tell us it was togetherness.
Study the kitchen,
Study the garden,
Study our fictional mythical
Areas of agency.
Study them, and you will find
Diseased male imaginations
Make you think of your families as distorted.
Mine is this:
My grandfather, the old Italian man
Smelt of tobacco and mints and leather
My English grandmother,
Sounds of bubbling soups
And scratching aprons
And pages of turning books.
These perceptions drop on our childhood
The autumn love of women waning
As we are told not to interfere in man’s work.
Daughters and mothers and grandmothers
Pigeons on the rafters
Or dust in the air
Or flowers on the walls
As figments in attics and kitchens and prisons.
Reverse the roles, she says, reverse them!
Put him in the kitchen let his see if he can brag as I do make the soup she says.
Apron on he studies the female attics and kitchens and prisons.
Studies but cannot find the fantasy
Of kitchenette building he
Adhered to in his deliberateness.
He cannot pass the test
This is the language of my mother,
We do what they do in the mind and hands
But they will never toil in our autumned gardens
As we have done since the
Beginning of time.