The Advocate*

The Advocate 
There are things, mostly blood-
related, we never tell the men.
Some things can’t be fit
to words unless people
have sailed the same ocean,
done the same butchery,
hunted the over-sized beast
with the same mix
of lust and dread.
 
Waiting in the kitchen
for a phone call
about the birth
of a first grandchild,
women pass the time
with labor stories,
the ones never told
after Thanksgiving dinner
when old battleship
or gridiron or board-
room warriors spin the hero
cycles their families
know by heart.
 
Yet, each of us has her story,
lost babies, murdered possibilities,
miraculous births.  None of us
screamed in labor
the way women do in movies,
though each of us passed through
a kind of death
before the child presented.
None of us was thanked
for giving birth.  As in
the movies, it was
the doctor who was
pounded on the back.
I can almost see
some of you roll your eyes,
shift in your seats,
as these oldest,
loneliest, most important
acts of heroism
pass unmarked.
Ah, the world!
Oh, the world!
But, in the kitchen,
the women of all ages
and experience know
the mother
waiting by the phone
for the daughter giving birth
in another city.
We know
the repetition of birth
forward and backward in time,
the bloody heroics.
We know almost everything
worth knowing,
for the womb
is our Yale College and our Harvard. 
 
Sherry Robbins, Or, the Whale, BlazeVOX [books]
*I wrote this poem years ago for a friend. Today. I’m the one waiting by the phone.

1 Comments on “The Advocate*”

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