Eve in Bloom

LifeWay back there in birthing bed
alone again she’d weep.
Year after year, new flesh, new bone,
pushed out like temporal teeth.
Ripped from its sockets by the roots,
life gasped and screamed for air,
then quieted down in perfect peace
to rich maternal fare.

Grandmother soil, warm and fertile,
the perfect garden spot.
She was Eve in efflorescence:
Black-eyed Susans, Blazing Stars,
Snow-drops, Spring Beauties,

Ragweed and Clover.
She was Eden, perennially pregnant.

Wildflowers, we speckle the landscape,
earth’s laughter, we nourish and flavor the land.
Spawned one by one in darkened rooms,
loosed as fledglings from cradling hands:
farmers, herders,
builders, teachers,
healers.
Grandchildren,
we explore, we discover,
we dance, we sing,
we think.

Anita Stubbs

Child of Mine

not child of mine imageGretchen was unaware when she locked the door of the hair salon she managed that a terrorist of the worst kind roared murderously down the interstate, not ten miles away, toward the farm she rented with her mother. The late afternoon sun would be casting long shadows across the backyard where her six-year-old daughter would be playing, perhaps gathering the eggs from the hen house. No, Gretchen did not know that today was the day of her nightmares, the imaginary day she never talked about to anyone. Continue reading Child of Mine

Forgive the Grandmothers

orig logo soap pic

Forgive the grandmothers
their docile obeisance,
their unopinionated views,
their unassertiveness,
their servile attitudes.
It was absolute authority
that made her bow her head,
a cultural thing that prohibited her,
but praised and honored him.

Forgive the grandmothers
for teaching male superiority,
for misleading us about
what feminine decency meant.
That decency was white starched shirts,
and shiny scrubbed floors–
fresh baked bread, piousness,
literacy restricted to reading scriptures.

Forgive the hovering about,
always at beckoning call,
for believing she was most attractive
when he stood proud and tall.
For countless family dinners
that served the menfolk first,
while she was judged by tasty meals,
the value of her worth.
And for steadfastly believing
her place was in the home,
while understanding that when menfolk gathered,
she was limited to certain rooms.

So, forgive her her part in enabling him to reign:
Head of the Table, Head of the House, Head of Everything.

Forgive her quietly giving birth
in a quality show of strength:
Any woman worth her salt,
decently endured pain.

Forgive her performance of duty
in keeping the children quiet,
Careful not to disturb Daddy
when he came home at night.

Forgive her mindless chatter,
her silence when it would have mattered,
for the mockery made
each time she marked her ballot.

Forgive her disdain for the sister
who resisted
by voting alone,
refusing to double his.

Forgive the grandmothers if you can,
for their clucking godliness,
for the little women robed in velvet steel
deserve our graciousness.

Forgive them, forgive them,
lift up their lowered heads.
Forgive them their delusions,
for they knew not what they did.
Anita Stubbs, 1993