I Didn’t Think of Myself as a Feminist

I didn’t think of myself
as a feminist


My mom did not think of herself
as a feminist in the 80s
when she went back to Kent State
to work on a Master’s and
left me
at home two nights a week
to cook dinner for my father

After a few weeks
perhaps a month
that he was sick of Oven Fry baked chicken
and spaghetti
(the two things
I knew
how to cook) and
he “let” her work outside the house
and her job
was to take care of him (no mention
of me or my younger sister, her dark eyes
wide beside mine in the dim stairwell)

(no mention of his responsibility to us except
his paycheck
“I make the money I call the shots”
he said that)

Later I turn on the oven
after my mom has left
for her night class
and I stand at the sink with a knife

slicing slimy skin off chicken breasts

I don’t think of this until years later
and my new self turns
on this memory of my father
in a fury and yells

You don’t like it? Fix your own fucking dinner you ungrateful

and I stop here because the words I want to shout





are all wound up in a new consciousness of language and

I can’t think of any





that carry the kind of destructive punch I need to land


The now-me has sorted through the garbage
is sorting through the garbage
but the kid-me just works on the chicken

and stares out the window through blurry eyes

First draft 12 April 2009
Second draft 27 April 2015

Incomplete, maybe a suite.

Hatred and pity are commingled and I’ve been sorting the garbage for over 25 years. Haven’t spoken to (heard from) my father in almost 14 years. He turns 72 in a few days.

Side note: I’ve been cooking for 30 years. Huh. Think of that.

Also, all apologies to the company that made Oven Fry before KRAFT bought it.
I can’t eat it, even though it was pretty tasty back in the day.

To this day, I can't eat this stuff.


One thought on “I Didn’t Think of Myself as a Feminist

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