Manifest

Well, you know what it’s like,
having a mother with Causes –
Or, I don’t know, maybe you don’t,
maybe you never gave up your Sundays,
stood out in the rain with a banner,
cried out in the streets for your rights –
or someone else’s –
Anyway, mine had plenty:
She was always out there,
smashing the patriarchy, putting down
the mighty from their seat,
that sort of thing. ‘Jesus,’ she said,
‘a woman’s body’s her own, her soul’s her creator’s.
Don’t you forget it.’ Or, ‘What this
country needs is revolution.
Lift up the humble.’ She thought big.
So I was surprised when, at the wedding,
she said to me, ‘They’re out of wine.
What are you going to do about it?’
‘Mother,’ I said, ‘this isn’t the time.’
Meaning, of course, that I had bigger fish to fry.
‘Jesus,’ she said, ‘there’s one thing
you haven’t yet learned about changing the world.
You begin where you are
and you use what you’ve got.’
So I did. That’s where it started.