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Apr 2018
(NaPoWriMo Challenge: April 2, 2018)

It was a wheat farm in Iowa in the 1920s,
all brothers and two girls,
and a father who doesn’t believe
girls should go to school.

This was not unusual for the times

I imagine the day you left that farm
with your sister
going all the way to Washington state
as if only an ocean would stop you.

She worked to put you through college
and you worked to put her through college

back when a job could still purchase such a thing.

And I wonder about the energy that took
to be stubborn, to believe otherwise—
in a new city demanding new pathways
and the tall shadows of a multitude
       of doorways.

I think about how wonderfully before you were,
before Mrs. degrees and empowerment seminars
and leaning in,

what Leroy was thinking while he was waiting downstairs
at the boarding house. Did he tell you over diner

about having the courage of your convictions?
Did you talk about your courage and your convictions,
and how beautiful were your convictions?

Reinvention is something we do on a Monday
What was it to be a girl in the 1920s
breaking out, leaving behind?

Was it ever about vocations and motherhood,
or just the hubris of a father farmer?
What was the fuel for the engine
of your determination?

Far from the jazz and the liquor
and the short fringed skirts,
two rebellious teachers
were smoking their own inevitabilities.

And how I never saw this in you
even when I was in your arms.
These poems for NaPoWriMo were inspired by a poem I did years ago for my friend Michelle after hearing she passed away, 30 poems for inspiring women connected to me. The title now says "33 Women" because the poem to Michelle poem had already been written as well as two prologues I posted March 31. Some of their pictures are posted here:
Mary McCray
Written by
Mary McCray
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