Women slowly push up sleeves,
exposing pudgy arms and calloused hands
to the scalding, soapy water
while the men retire to their armchairs,
content to loosen belts and watch
through groggy eyes as the local boys
dribble their way to glory.
Stray gray curls are pushed from creased brow
with wrinkled fingers, soap splashing
onto dirty plates as she takes them from
the others – No!
A missed foul shot sends cries into the air
as women work in comfortable silence,
only the clink of silverware testimony
to their strength, their solidarity.

– ljg 1992