Texas Women

Glenda Zumwalt

(for Jane Rose, JoyceNell, and Modena Ruth)

Texas always has been
hell on women and horses
but it's our natural home
not a choice we would have made
but there it is--the sky blazing
blue in July and the speckled beans
flying from gnarled fingers
into dishpans on screen porches,
the little cousins in cotton underwear
drenching each other under the sycamore
while the women talked of revivals,
a start of the Old Blush Rose,
and tumors the size of grapefruit,
while we fumbled with the pods
and dreamed of town,
that world of our girlhood,
those rites of passage.

Our guides, our oracles, our mothers, our aunts
telling the stories of crops and failures,
of births and deaths and graveyard days,
of winter hail and August drought.
And all the time the petunias
wilting in the heat and us
dreaming Corvettes and swimming pools,
our breasts budding, those first blood stains,
bored with the tales of the women
we would not become. What did we
know of work and world and time
and death and men?

We are long since women and yes in town.
Here on still summer evenings
I hear them in the murmur of the cotton wood trees,
singing don't fence me in
singing bringing in the sheaves
singing i'll fly away
how sweet the sound
Glenda Ann Glenda Ann
don't truck so much with doubt.


The 2River View, 2_4 (Summer 1998)