POEM LXXV: “SARAH AND ANGELINA GRIMKE”

There is a special misery
in being born ahead of your time
able to perceive a reality
several hundred years
before the world puts a name to it.

Used to be,
the single woman
who found herself in this unenviable position
was burnt as a witch.

But two are harder to try,
harder still when they are white and rich and can argue like lawyers,
even though they were stuck arguing
hermeneutics;
last refuge of every village idiot.

Still, they gamely took the arena,
and, fighting back-to-back,
managed to piss off even the Quakers;
an accomplishment in any era.

When your opponent starts talking about
a woman’s place
her modesty
her sphere in the home
that’s when you know you’ve got him on the ropes
and it’s time to start working the head and jaw.

And as you punch,
you think about all the women you’re doing this for.
The women who can’t,
because they’re somewhere in a hot land,
bent over the work that will eventually kill them.
You keep swinging for them, because their fate is tied up with your own.

This is what’s called “intersectionality”
and if we still haven’t quite gotten the message,
it’s because a woman’s work is never done.

So here are your gloves.
Tie them up tight.

Your turn.

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One thought on “POEM LXXV: “SARAH AND ANGELINA GRIMKE”

  1. Thanks so much Jane. I don’t know how you do it, but Sarah and Angelina and I love it. I will try to share this with the author of the book I just read about them.

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