Patriarchal 1746 759 Rachel Nix

He used to come up behind me, tell me
I’d make some man a fine wife.

Didn’t know

the kind of man I wanted,
if I wanted a man at all.

He knew

I washed the dishes clean,
ironed his work clothes neat.

Said if I could

watch my mouth, quit cutting
my teenage eyes in angst,

I might be fit to claim.

Didn’t know

when I got old enough, my grandmother
had to talk me out of changing my last name:

not to another man’s, but from his.

Header photograph © Heather Wharram.

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