I come from a long line of strident women
First born porcelain cleaners.
I have cleaned white bowls for 40 plus years
if you count the early days when my brothers did yard work
and I worked alongside Mother.
I tried to levy birth order
for wrinkled finger tips, upright vacuums white noise, and
dusters made of outgrown undershirts.
Stared with longing out the window for budding proof,
a clue less obvious than
the flowering buds of my own soft flesh.
Come to think of it,
I denied things long after that,
my femaleness an afterthought,
assuming an ‘I can do anything’ mantra like a war hymn,
blazing forward fearless
into life and love.
It was life growing inside me that pulled me up short.
Brought me full circle to
unspoken rules, presumptions
and the death
of all things being equal.