Sarah Brown Weitzman
My eighteenth summer I conned
my parents into letting me work
as a waitress in the Adirondacks.
In the 6 AM chill from the lake
seven days a week I stood ready
for the straggle of hotel guests.
Eggs sunnyside, scrambled well,
or overeasy. Local marmalade
for dark toast which I always brought
too late. Tips depended . . .
Three meals a day I staggered
with trays piled precariously
with over-filled plates. Bone-in
roast beef, rack of lamb, two
pound lobsters, whole boned fish,
gigantic baked potatoes, heaps
of vegetable sides, decadent desserts
no one in those days skipped
even when they’d gorged on baskets
of homemade warm rolls and butter.
Seconds ordered and reordered.
Tips depended . . .
Fat rich men in dark suits I nearly ruined
with a spill who knew what they wanted
long before their wives did.
How those ladies dressed for dinner,
jeweled décolleté and fat fingers
well ringed. A summer warding off
their husbands’ sneaky pats and pinches
with a smile since tips depended . . .
Hoping For A Women's Era
Treading the men-lined city streets we
women would like to turn those men around
and pinch their behinds
or sit next to them on buses or subway trains
with our knees spread out so wide
they’d have to sit all tensed and small
as possible to avoid any contact
or we could give them our seat
and then stand over them to look down their shirts.
And we’d never let them forget
that they have a penis or that we have a thing
for chests. We’d call them dear and doll
so we don’t have to remember individual
names and when we talk to them
we’ll stare at them below the belt
and when they’re walking down the street
we’ll keep up a barrage of whistles and comments
to keep them continuously aware of us.
In business we’ll judge them
by their looks and how they type.
We’ll pay them less than women
working in the same positions.
In bed we reassure them
that we’ve had hysterectomies
and we’ll tell each one of them
You were great, baby, you’re my main squeeze.
And when they demand equal rights, a male ERA
we’ll mention the selective service
public bathrooms, the closing of their clubs
and cite some vague religious reasons
to explain that their masculinity would be in jeopardy
and that it is ludicrous to make such a fuss over status
since we usually buy them whatever they want.
But when we finally run out of arguments
and they still insist on equal rights
we’ll just have to tell them how awful it would be
My Autumn Valley Journey
The creek swept cold
where I turned
to mount the hill path
running all the way
to reach the crest
and take sudden
the whole shock
of that autumn valley
in one surprise
the dogwood’s scarlet spread
the singed ash
elms exactly orange
among the paper birch
one golden oak
now coin silver
apples ruby late
upon the branch
pines that do no turning
as though this quarter meant to hold
all hues of man’s seasons
to full fruit and in between
in this last flamboyant protest
but brought to me stealing
and after-school chores
that bond all may share
But then running through fields
tingling my town legs
past flurries of bees
and brown butterflies
all wooing and winged
like myself I fling
down the hill into apple air
and musk of old baywood
some hand had sawed
from potatoes unearthed
to dry to where
straining against the fence
are the farmer’s four horses.
Not the first untouched crystal
nor spring’s green sameness
nor even summer’s academic freedom
ever pleased me
so as that October valley journey
in memory now become not journey
but an end.
The farmer died.
His family moved to the city.
That ground soon grew nothing
The horses were sold
About the author:
Sarah Brown Weitzman, a Pushcart nominee and 2014 winner of the Harry Hoyt Lacey Poetry Prize, has had hundreds of poems published in numerous journals such as America, The North American Review, Rattle, The Mid-American Review, The Windless Orchard, Slant, Poet Lore, and The Potomac Review. She received a Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. Her latest book, a children’s novel, Herman and the Ice Witch, was published by Main Street Rag in 2011.