Posted by: Irene Fridsma | November 18, 2010

Strong Women

(This was written as a response to an old photo of four generations of women)

four generations of women
pose in the black and white photo
the unpredictable
flash of magnesium
force faces to look frozen
as each person remains still

grandma, the family treasure
is surrounded
by the oldest daughter
from each generation

it was a difficult life
grandma shared with Jake
who insisted
she fixed his meals on time
took care of all his needs

her clenched hands
rest in her lap
hands gnarled by woman’s work
she sits unsmiling, grim
her shoulders squared

her daughter and grand-daughters
lean on her
to garner her strength

her daughter’s deep-set eyes
unsmiling expression
reveal resignation
to life’s hardships

these four are stuck together
by blood
drawing on each other
for resources

strong women
substantial as the metal chair
its claw feet
its stiff unyielding iron arms
supporting the ancient grandmother

I have been in a similar photo
changing positions
in the generational role call
it’s my turn to sit in the metal chair


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