A Certain Woman: for IWD

A small stop along our Lenten journey to celebrate International Women’s Day — with a poem, first published in Sophia in 1999, slightly revised here.

A Certain Woman

On an autumn day beginning
to gather in stubble its winter snow,
its safe cold for winter death,
a certain woman stands alone

on the field. She struggles;
her knees are bending as paper
under swift brilliant fingers
of fear and the pronouncements

of law and tradition, fingers skilled at
folding her in shapes of flowers,
beasts, birds, weapons, any bended
folded other thing. Her limbs

have no strength and even her voice
is a page without consonants, a
whisper I am not paper, but the tree
from which you take me. The prairie

is empty of past or person, the air
too thin to lean on. She wishes
to crumble, flatten, breathe familiar dust.
Then the wind is angry and speaks:

Stand, wavering stalk. You are born
already; your seeding is not in falling
and bowing. You have roots. Let
memory be a mirror. The woman

tries to believe the wind. She lets
the snow anchor her feet. She remembers
they are beautiful. She knows they
are warm with the weight of her leaves.

4 thoughts on “A Certain Woman: for IWD

  1. Loved this poem, Dora. I don’t remember reading it in Sophia. I sent it to my daughter, Anita, in Ontario. Just felt like sharing it with someone close to me on this special day!

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