Lois Frankenberger is a publicist and mother of two grown children. Her poems have appeared in Garden Lane, Legends and Landscapes: Poems for the Andovers, The Merrimack Literary Review, The Middlesex Beat, The
Eagle-Tribune, The Powow River Anthology, and The Other Side of
Sorrow. She is a member of the Bartlet Street Poets, the Powow River
Poets, and a board member of the Robert Frost Foundation. She began
writing poetry at age 60.
The idea for this poem came from an item Frankinberger read in the Boston Globe about Jill Conway, who was the first woman president of the college founded by Sophia Smith 100 years earlier.
The women’s movement played out in slow
motion coming from Smith College where I
didn’t learn the silent generation’s
real story that wasn’t even named until
ten years later when Betty Friedan
identified it, Gloria Steinem
marched down Fifth Avenue for it and I
never noticed it as I stepped out of DuPont’s
oval and into the train for Scarsdale
to feather my love nest.
Perfectly natural –
except I got lost
in the exchange; no bargaining power
to dilute the essence of an edict
I carried from college through meantime
that a woman’s place was in her husband’s name.
Now, a woman of a certain age, I’m
home alone counting my losses and gains
still trying to reach the power of one
tooled by the school that took 100 years
to claim its birthright and be led
by a woman.