Hairline Cracks in the Porcelain
I come from a long line
of born-again porcelain cleaners.
I am a tidy-bowl expert,
know the brush and flush, polish and rub,
I am a woman, well trained by her Mother.
I tried to put girlhood aside,
leverage being eldest
to escape wrinkled finger tips,
upright vacuum white-noise,
dusters made of outgrown undershirts.
When I failed, I glared out bungalow windows
at my brothers cutting lawn and raking in the benefits
of shared manliness with Dad.
I had no choice. I was taught
to bake and sew and clean proficiently
as an outcome of my femininity
and with all this evidence to the contrary,
one day my Father says to me,
“All things are equal.
You can be ANYTHING you want to be.”
So fast forward to University
and what appears to be a level field, free
from reference to my body’s ability
to bleed, grow breasts or hips or, God forbid,
bear children. Sex lives, no, thrives
in residence rooms fuelled by pub crawls,
still what we do does not define our gender.
I earn my degree, my idealism, my zeal,
I am a self fulfilling prophecy
with EVERYTHING I want. Until…
Fast forward in circumstance, when Providence
unleashes a mind-boggling-paradigm-shifting-revelation
of upside-down proportion,
all my notions of equality expanded
yet reduced to this…moment…
I am pregnant!
I have to choose?
He and I choose together, and my body
blossoms in maternity, my mind
rises like a phoenix
in blazing pride at this innate ability
to create and birth new beings.
Miracles… of possibility
through pain of labour, first one,
then two boys arrive…my joys.
And then…SHE becomes unexpectedly.
SHE is something else entirely.
SHE unearths renewal in me.
FEMALE…we share more than DNA,
SHE is somehow hope and legacy,
SHE is the epitome of another chance
at THIS…AND…in feminine form.
But who am I to say…
I step back and let her find her way,
that dance, step in only when she asks.
Fast forward with my growing girl
my grateful orbit of her world. She says
“I might get married one day” and with a smile
“maybe I won’t have a child…”
Together we unleash our wild “I AM no man.”
I watch her unveil her spirit, truth,
and the beauty of no shame,
strength and intellect, all hers to claim.
She is powerful in her personhood.
(pardon boasting like I did something good)
Now she is gone from me,
like I knew she would be, eventually,
and we both thank Skype technology
for staying close with video chat.
I ask…I breathe one thing for her constantly…
that SHE finds space enough to BE,
to hold everything, all possibility,
glorious, wide and open…
Lesley-Anne Evans 2016