Ode to a Grandmother

Now that I have become you, what is my legacy?
Now I am a Grandmother too, I have to ask this –
what shall I do with the child that is me?
What shall I do with my longing?
What shall I advise her to do or not do?
After all these years of containing her, admonishing her
curtailing her activities, getting her to do the ‘right thing’
after all these years of slipping out at dawn
to flirt with impropriety, to clothe herself inappropriately
after all these years of placing the M in front of ‘other’
after all these years of bearing children
polishing their dancing heels
after all these years of being an archaeologist
digging up the herstories of my mothers
the conditioning of my fathers
the millions of books read, the knowledge imparted
the arguments in cafes on God, Science and Women
the hopelessness of evil, the scorching of rainforests,
what should this child do now?
Those women who turn to dust, their weapons misappropriated
melted down for post-imperial zones, gated communities
and clinics that fill the cracks in their faces with poison
mummifying a grimace of eternal youth,
I am not one of these.
They are not the warriors of my youth, my heroes,
my aspiration. Come, I say
to that Grandmother who learnt to shoot with rifles of words
sailed ships of sand over plateaux and rainforests.
This is when I need you. Come.

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