Essential Worker

By J.C. Talamantez

Featured art: maternal memories, 2019 by Emma Stefanoff

When you were a girl, you thought about
            what kind of woman you would be

            how you would differ
                           from her / her life in hardening hands
                                       the work, an early marriage
                                                   then the angry one
            her suspect taste in men
                           that she hung on when there was nothing
                                       left to hang
            kept laboring the labor
                           the men wouldn’t do

            It was a long time to undo / the belief
                                 that to be a woman is partial
                              a life of shadows joining

                           and sometimes i still feel
                                       like a dog always checking
                                             its masters eyes

You wanted / to be a woman
         this is what it is sometimes

J.C. Talamantez is a Mexican-American poet who received her MFA from Texas State University. Her work has appeared in Salamander, in Smartish Pace as a finalist for the Beullah Rose Prize, and others.

One thought on “Essential Worker

  1. Thank you, J.C. Talamantez, for your poem “Essential Worker.” Besides the careful crafting, a feature of the poem that delights, I thank you because I had to read the poems several times. That sort of thing doesn’t happen for me very often. I had to read it several times because I felt an affection for the words, the lines, and the song. Your meaning is so clear, but also so beautifully expressed. You write with confidence and authority. Thank you for this gem.


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