My Area of Agency

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

A fantasy.


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

Like bombs.


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

Of domesticity.


This is the language of my mother,

My grandmother

My friends

My females

In solidarity.

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.

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