She walks proud and confident
to the university a mile away
and a life much farther
from the thousands of years
that once shackled
and diminished her,
used her womb and its entrance,
and cast the rest aside.
So many ghostly grandmothers
stand watching behind her,
this woman they could never be,
their sufferings and labor quiet
now, as then.
I watch, too; I am a man, after all.
But my admiration is not just visual.
It is also for the unrestrained poise,
the casual steps of feet set free.
She bears a pack full of books.
Not the child of sex feared or forced,
nor a load of wood and water,
nor the silken yoke of helplessness.
She is a woman: young, learning, capable.
A fellow human with her place to be.
She will vote, write, and decide,
perhaps even fight in a war for me.
And yet, I notice, smiling,
she still has chosen,
this woman unbound,
to let the scent of flowers linger in her wake.
—First posted on Facebook, 10/18/12.
Thanks to Alyssa and Jasmine for permission to use their Facebook profile pics, and congratulations to their mothers for setting great examples. They’re brilliant women, all of them.