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“Women for the World”

Ellen Doré Watson, Director of the Poetry Center

Ellen Dore Watson’s “Women for the World” was read by Andrea Hairston ’74, Louise Wolff Kahn 1931 Professor of Theatre, at the Campaign for Smith Kick-Off Celebration Saturday, October 13.

She draws crowds or fire. An oak, she towers.

She forewarns, she floors, she’s sieve, she’s oars

—all whirl and brimming—living for the world.

She’s 13, first in her family to say AIDS out loud.

She’s mopping nuclear meltdown at 69. She sun-

screens orphaned elephants’ ears—knows mother

is shade. Thick-armed or reedy, she splits atoms,

invents windshield wipers, white-out. She labors

in the bush the hut the tub the ward. She delivers.

Exponentially. She sisters. She gives us Hospice,

Kevlar, the Mars Rover, the bra. Carriers of water,

keepers of memories or bees. At 10, circumcised,

about to be wed, she spills hot tea in his lap, grows up

to write her memoir from jail—with eyeliner on t.p.

She will not be forbidden the world. Game-changers,

gene-mappers, those who build bridges, who are bridges,

who get the story told. Sharp- or honey-tongued, she

legals, loyals, triages, stops the superhighway. She sings

herself, and everyone. Flecked with paint or pain, knee-

deep in the way out or in. She drives. We women—elected,

reflecting, dissecting, refracting—ignition for the world.