by Darrell Bourque
That girl you think you see beneath the oak beside the Teche, she is other
than the girl I was. I was surely with all those other women forced to leave
a life they had grown into, but I was never what they were, never a mother,
never even married. When other women gathered reeds and grasses to weave
into baskets, I was there and I may well have helped them. But let’s be clear,
I grew into something that had to do mostly with what people needed of me.
I am the loyal one, the one faithful to a man I may or may not have held dear.
When rain and heat fall on fertile soil, things grow, & that is how I came to be.
I was not among those that fought back, wielded axes, or negotiated with bears
for a place to live. I was never with the women who foraged for medicinal teas
to save a spouse in a wild land no one knew, or nursed a child, never smothered
by want or dread. I never planted crops or took them in, never had to cleave
through thicket and vine to make a way for myself. I was always covered
by right image & right sound, measured neatly in what others wanted to believe.