The Dainty Line, Leanne Wicks

I want to see
beyond my borders
over the entrenched lies.

I am the Australienne
submitting to her husband
in this land of sweeping pains.
Two dead women every week
at the hands of men
stained with green and guilt.

My mother told me so
after the horse had trampled.
Where are the examples,
frontline warnings
from matriarchs who knew
the battle that I would gallop into?

Granny’s general memories
refused to retrieve files
but crossing the dainty line
I asked about feminine care
Oh, we didn’t talk about anything
down there!  Girls were frightened,
ignorant.  Our mothers never said.
We used a belt and cotton rags.

Bleeding’s what we’ve always done.
As I grew, I never knew why
she didn’t talk to Grandpa.
Maybe it was the war
that tore them.  He was as tall as a gum,
RAAFed in Borneo.
After Granny’s funeral I sorted her things.
On the highest shelf
at the back of the laminated wardrobe
behind precise pink and elf-green
hand-knitted jumpers it
was hidden:

A douche kit.
Bottle of Lysol (used for bathroom tiles, floors
and uterine walls)
stood constricted
by the laboratory-red hose
wound within the wash bowl
pump primed and funnel fanged
still ready to wash him away,
fifty years after her final child.

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