70spoems/austinwomen

A POEM TO THE AUSTIN WOMEN

Elizabeth Story old bonneted
Christian saint accepting
God’s will and everyone’s
limitations. A husband
drinking Hadacol brandy-filled
bottles in dark stair wells
and boarders who kill.
Silent martyr gone to soap
kettles, heavy-hearted
aberration of hard times.
Victorian Christian ethics
demanding black stockings
of saucy daughters
come up stronger than you.

Alice Austin proud stoic
holding back your self,
spice hidden beneath potatoes.
I’ve seen photos of your
youth. Heard stories
they used to tell. Know
you had fits at your man
and always got your way.
This confusion you bred
by tongue held silent
behind body fist determination,
when the Women’s Society of
Christian Service became
too much you got sick
and died. Leaving
behind saucy daughters
come up stronger than you.

Sarai Austin play out inherited
little girl confusion. Breed
even more deception. I know
stories you could tell
of witch legends passed
on at soap kettles and
chants to use when Christian
rites fail. Genetic vision
of women long silent
behind men and secrets
handed down woman to woman
in dream image. In fear
of your own power
play suburban mother
to saucy daughters
come up stronger than you.

6/26/76