I guess that's what I do, write in a woman's voice. So I am delighted that Beate Sigriddaughter published to of my poem in her lovely blog: Writing in a Women's Voice.
One is a reprint, Six Feet, which was first in Headline Poetry and Press, and the other unpublished previously: Mrs. Sisyphus Sweeps Acorns.
The length of my dog’s leash. Meeting another,
twelve feet between wary humans,
dogs sniff nose to nose.
How tall my father was, or so he said, but
you couldn’t always trust
everything he said.
The width of a cell in San Quentin Prison,
not counting men stacked in bunks
stale air, no phone call.
The distance between two not-yet-lovers, masked
strangers, no touch but eyes
no hands, no mouths.
The depth of the average grave, except in genocides,
war, and pandemics like this one
when you have to share.
The width of my queen size mattress, enough
for two, most nights. Sometimes
I want it all for myself.
Tonight you stay.
Mrs. Sisyphus Sweeps Acorns
There he goes, hands greased against the strain
pushing that rock up that hill again and again
my man, following unheard commands, good
So I take up my broom, wired for work
for sweeping the fallen nuts
of end of summer harvest, acorns on the path
we trod morning and night
Tripping hazards, as the rock my man’s
invitation to disaster, a race
he can’t win, but might kill him
Better he should tinker
under the hood of some old car
the neighbors say, tsking like
the old women of Chekov
a dead Triumph or maybe a Ford
Better to stall the old mower
on the tall crunch of weeds
or get acorns in the gears
No, he’s got to show the gods how tough
he is, rugged man who can muscle
a boulder over and over
to no purpose whatsoever
and me left here to sweep piles
satisfying anyway to fill the cans
with fruit to feed the birds
and crafty critters of the night
Women’s work, say the neighbors,
is useful, but why not plant a different
tree, one that bears apples
pears, or sticky black figs
Why not store up for coming winter
the slippery path, the boulder’s relentlessness
that bodes a mutual harvest
an inevitable ending of this myth
Because no matter how hard we try
there is no end of the path
no rainbow sign
no happy ending
Say what you will, consistency
has its rewards, acorns fall, rocks
roll on, entropy sustains us
in the ongoing saga of never.