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To Women Who Work

Marilyn Buck


old women sit on stoops
stooped by lives of labor
their children born in tenuous tenements
bent from assembly lines
and cleaning washing cooking
for old women
who whirl through Bloomingdales
spending shopping searching for
chalices of youth and beauty
obsessive desperation about depreciation
and obsolescence
oblivious to value

young women sit on stoops
with babies in arms
they sing strident sonatas of dreams
burdened by blues
their eyes burn with golden desires
lived only by miss americas
who dance Vogue dreams
with princes
while old women and young women
slave in sweatshops in Savannah San Juan and Seoul
forced to spin the desires of
high-class women
young and old
who need nothing and want everything

February 1988

This poem appeared in
Hauling Up The Morning, 1990
Sojourner: The Women's Forum, 1991,
and Concrete Garden #4, 1995