International Women's Day, 2014.

 MADONNA 
real madonnas
are not bullet-breasted singers
making videos and imitating 
Marilyn Munroe
they are women who take care
of other women's children
women who: 
wipe noses 
change diapers
make meals
help children learn
to climb the Jungle Gym
while their mothers
climb corporate ladders
in stockings and three-piece suits
argue court cases
or make minimum wage 
which pays rent
and daycare
 
if I could
I would paint a fresco
of a woman with a rope 
around her waist
a rag-taggle of children 
following along through the park 
her nose would be smudged 
wiith fingerpaint
her jeans splattered
with playdough  
in one hand 
I would paint
one half of the university diploma
I studied for 
in her other hand
would be the hand
of my child  


there would be a halo 
around her head


if I sold this painting
I would take her
to a Greek island
where someone could take care of her
where there are no children saying
can I could you I want my Mommie
I would call this painting
Shirley in the Park with the Children.
  
-from In this House are Many Women , Goose Lane Editions , 1992.   
       
 
-Rug by Deanne Fitzpatrick http://www.hookingrugs.com/