Who's That Lady

Who’s that lady

Is that a woman over there

working hard,

fast away at the gray desk,

closed off in the spider-webbed corner?

 

Do you see her

hiding behind made-up lies

of someone else’s perception of

red lipstick and blue-black, eye-lined lids?

 

That couldn’t be a woman

bossing the office men around,

setting financial standards,

being heard by all members present.

 

No!

Couldn’t be a woman

saying no to marriage,

saying no to settling for protection.


 

Yes! that’s her

with the strong back like an over-used mule,

and heavy-duty arms picking up the scattered pieces

left on the cracked ground, meant

to stray her away from a happy life.

 

That woman ain’t meant to be happy,

angry fits her better.

That woman ain’t supposed to be happy,

bearer of civilization is all she’s good for

That woman ain’t a woman,

she’s a machine and when she breaks

it’s time for a replacement.

 

I see lines of text saying what she is and what she ain’t—

documents saying what she can and what she caint.

And right when my head feels like it’s

about to fall off, I see words saying

forget all that—

I am me and that’s all that matters.

I see Freedom in the broken glass of Lemonade,

I see my seat at the table of affirmers,

I taste the bad feminism in my mouth,

I hear the caged birds singing—

I hear Maya in the background

nodding her head, pointing her finger

Shouting:

“Ooh, and ain’t She bad

and ain’t She Black?

And ain’t She fine”,

and

ain’t

she

a Woman?

-Latrice Young

Jeremiah JohnsonComment