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Kulak Women

Broad of beam
Full of breast
Hearty with laughter
Ripe with children
My foremothers
Bent over cradles
Bent over sheaves of grain
Bent over cookstoves
Bent . . .
What did they dream of
On the Steppes of Russia
What did they hope for
As the Bolsheviks thundered down the road
Jewels, thrones, gowns made from silks
A long hot bath?
Did they love well
At the end of days of scrubbing, birthing, nursing
Tending to vegetable plots
I think of you sometimes
Wonder if your peasant look is in my bones, my eyes, my voice
What do I dream of a hundred years from you
Jewels, thrones, gowns made of silk
A long hot bath!

By Arleen Cornish