My Mother and I had a Discussion One Day

byDenise Sweet
and she said I was quite fortunate
to have two sons
and I said how is that? and she said
with daughters you worry for them
birth control, childrearing,
you worry for them, the threat of rape,
and then there is the wedding expense.
I looked into her tired eyes
and clouded face and saw
that she was quite serious.
Yes, but, I said,
boys eat more.

My mother and I had a discussion one day
and she said why do they call it
women's music?
and I said because they sing it,
take from it, feel good and strong
when they walk away from it
while we sit here this is going on.
Are you telling me, my mother said
up until now, I have been listening
and no women have been singing?
and I said that is right
and she said that was ridiculous
and hummed a tune
of her own.

My mother and I had a discussion one day
and she said why do you want to leave
this house, it is a fine house?
and I said I didn't think there was much of a market
for a nosewiper, a kitchen keeper,
an under the bed sweeper
and she said my smart mouth
would get me in trouble one day
and I looked at her scarred knuckles
and quivering chin and realized
that I had spit in the face
of a thousand thousand women and I wept
with my mother.

© 1997 Denise Sweet
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