A poem a day in April from Rutgers English PhD students and friends.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Feminists, ranked

It’s possible you were a better feminist
Than your ex. My mom was
Not the best feminist, or one at all she claimed.

This was sort of a joke: then she’d say, how could she
Be for equality, when women were so
Superior to men.

But also not a joke.
I remember saying a book we loved, wasn’t
It somewhat misogynist, if you read it

As a feminist?  And she got angry at me.
But she was the one who told me about her options:
Teacher, nurse, secretary. And when she was that

Last one, how she and the other girls had to wear
Mini-skirts to work. She became a teacher too.
And then said being a stay-at-home-mom made her

A nurse. She came to school as a volunteer
Lice checker, and nursed sickly me and my sickly
Sister and her infrequently sick husband.

She wrote a poem about lice checking. Right: she wrote.
Secretary, teacher, mom-nurse, writer. She won
Awards, published stories, wrote a novel for a thesis.

A rollicking adventure, like boys’ own, and set
In the Amazon, where she went with her sister
Traveling otherwise alone. It’s okay that

She didn’t want to be a feminist. That she
Didn’t want to see the misogyny in some
Books. I’m a feminist, but not a better one.

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