We are experts at measuring the distance of fathers
And weighing the lightness of mothers.
When fathers quarter the distance
We clasp our hands in pride
Like seeing a baby walk a few steps
Without the aid of the sofa.
When they halve the distance we parade in the streets
Burden our shoulders with their heaviness
And declare the goodness of men.
Men are good, we dutifully remind ourselves
A necessary magical incantation
To keep civilization in perpetual motion.
Say it as if your throat is clutching a rosary
Say it to keep the beasts away
And the darkness at bay.
But men ARE good
At least most of them some of the time
And some of them most of the time
Though a few of them none of the time
And none of them all of the time.
Little known fact: Atlas was a woman
A mother, to be precise, so it is assumed
Among those who know.
Only the earth did not rest upon her shoulders
The weight of the world on shoulders–
That’s a man-shaped burden.
No, the earth made contact with every cell of skin
An entire body to bear its endless spin.
But we demanded that any body
That touched the entire earth be light;
Bodies of light that are light
And God said let there be light
And so came the earth
Held up by light.
But how bodies of light that are light
Can bear mountains and oceans
And cities and wars and darkest night
And every depth and height
And every kind of heaviness and history
And that anonymously?
Unless such bodies are not light
Unless such beings are more and less than bodies
More and less than mothers
But we desire light.
And say with reverence and grave solemnity
Echoing the order of eternity
That, gloriously alone, a sacrifice of gods
Men will shoulder night.
And that’s the story
Of how women became mothers and bodies
And men became fathers and shoulders
Of how men carry
But women bear.
And if heaven is a true reflection
Of earthly versions of love and care
Then how can I not shake and tremble
If I’ve a Mother or Father there.