A Woman’s Work – A Poem by Kathleen Herrmann

A Woman’s Work

For Nana

She worked the drug store soda fountain the year the Titanic sank
“Give me the works” customers would say
Corset-cinched, boot-laced, high-necked, tight-cuffed, long-skirted
She scooped, mixed, ladled, whipped, and sprinkled
Hustling down marble counter with a smile

She nursed him for months the year they married
Leg brace, infection, medication, cleaning, feeding
Bursts of temper interlaced with “I love you’s”
After the accident he was never the same

She rose many midnights the year Prohibition began
Sending him off with hot coffee, sandwich, and a prayer
Long hours she listened to life rising within
Dreamed of fists pounding at the door

She worked on the homefront the year her son went to war
Measure and pour the gunpowder
Fill the shells
Hold your breath
Tell no one

Then it was our time
At first light, I would see her through white voile curtains
Sloshing soapy water all over Papa’s black Ford
Drying it with vigorous circular motions
She scrubbed laundry to Arthur Godfrey
Scurrying outside to unpin it when it showered
She mowed acres of lawn
Raised purple pansies and orange tiger lilies
Chopped firewood
And warned me about a woman’s work

Kathleen Herrmann had a bicoastal upbringing in Boston and San Francisco.  She has written poems and nonfiction articles, appearing in anthologies around the world and publications such as Woman’s Day magazine.  As an elementary educator, she teaches young writers, whose open minds and hearts awaken her inner child. Outdoor adventures, people, current events, and the unexpected inspire her writing, as well as the evocative poetry, prose, storytelling, and oral improvisation of fellow authors. Visit Kathleen’s LinkdIn page for more poetry offerings.

Banner Art “So It Was Then” A visual poem by Robert Frede Kenter (c) (2022). Twitter @frede_kenter.

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