Susan UttingSusan Utting 


In Praise of Bare-Handed Women

One day, an army of gray-haired women
may quietly take over the earth.
- Gloria Steinem

You who carry bubbling cooking pots,
lift the lids off scorching pans, who scoop
and dole out steaming nourishment, red-
handed, stoically scarred and blistered.

You who swallow sour milk, at home
among a mist of fruit flies, you who scoff
the rotting apple, pungent, blackening banana,
who clear the rack of flaccid carrots; you who

thrive on other people's left-overs - those
sniffy-nosed rejecters. O plate scrapers!
O relishers of leavings! O this'll-do-me
plucky finishers of gristly bits, I bow down

before your cast-iron stomachs, your
asbestos hands - forgive my flimsiness,
the nesh of my pathetic thumbs, my rheumy
eyes, for I am dazzled by the metal glint of

you, the core of you, its steel, its gold.

from "New Poems" section of Half the Human Race (Two Rivers Press 2017)

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