Our mothers rolled and rolled the stone. Carved the same wheel until the day they died. And the day they died we sainted them, we trapped them, pre-ordained and selected.
The corruption, the true verse, was excised. Edits were a holy operation. Our minds are safe now, theirs are entries in a thick anthology, a representative sample. Each woman’s life, a slide, a drop on a lens.
Our mothers stirred and stirred the sea. With thick hands and strong arms they turned the mill that ground the words. They started the flame
And wrote in a land where there was nothing before. They wrote So their daughters – we – could have our bread.
If it wasn’t for their might, if it wasn’t for their pens, their gleaming machines, their voices, we would have no language for ourselves. If it wasn’t for every whispered word, every spell, every psalm, every lullaby, every gasp and moan, every grunt – If it wasn’t for every poem written to pull back the veil and break the pedestal.
If it wasn’t for every poem written when they were told they should not, if it wasn’t for every poem written as if on the edge of disaster, as if on the lips of death herself as if in the bluest part of the flame, as if in the grip of the iron queen – we daughters would have starved.