Patriarchy is the world I live in.
It is a grandfathered culture
stuttering toward evolution,
too ready with sour punches
A prick makes a man's words worth more
than the best educated woman's;
these are sad places.
This chant is for the newborn girls
viewed with disappointment by mothers
already apologetic to their husbands
for goddess-filled wombs.
This is for the sisters
envying brothers blessed
with affection and gifts.
Such is the power of a surname
that will not be usurped.
This is for the teenaged girls
learning how to lose
to save a guy's pride.
This is for the high school girls
struggling with unwanted pregnancies
because abstinence-only sex education
is unrealistic, even for priests and nuns.
This is for the scholars-to-be
entering college with honors only to be told,
Girls don't need college as much as boys do.
No one will marry you if you're too smart.
This is for the young mothers
who "for the sake of the children"
will not leave abusive husbands.
This is for the elderly wives
whose husbands turn away in disgust
since they no longer can bear children;
therefore, they are not women anymore.
This is for you,
to say I understand from your experience
that life, as much as possible,
should not be lived
from behind the bars of a cage
someone built for somebody else
a long time ago.
Kat Avila (firstname.lastname@example.org) recommends that you visit the National Women's History Project at http://www.nwhp.org.