Third World Super Women

You haven’t seen a silent strength like this before
The long hours of physical labor
“women’s work”
I wonder if their necks aren’t made of steel or
Their hands of thick, soft kevlar.
I’ve seen these women accomplish impossible feats
carrying so much water atop their heads, a friend must help to hoist it up there.
I’ve seen them grab angry, red coals with bare hands
and hold the edges of cooking pots with no complaints
These women come complete with night-vision
as they walk calmly with ease beside
my stumbling with a flashlight.
I’ve seen women with babies on their backs
out tilling soil in the fields
under the unforgiving sun.
They cook 3 and 4 course meals over a single fire
Walk barefoot over rocks, sand and brittle grass.
I wonder if there isn’t an extra hinge, hidden within
their lower backs,
The way they spends hours folded in half to wash clothes
to wash dishes
to sweep or to mop
all by hand.
Watching these third world super women living their humble lives
I wonder what they could accomplish if THEY were the ones allowed to go to school and their brothers made to stay home and work,
If they were told,
if the believed
if they only knew
How different their lives could be.

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“Sunset at the Railroad” by PCV Nicholas Baylor Hall. Namibia, 2011.