My father says my mother
Bears her pain with little complaint.
He means it as a compliment,
Stoicism still mistaken for strength:
Don’t superheroes always bear
Their burden with graceful mutism?
More laudable for being
And I wish I could say
I know better than to mistake
Martyrdom for mettle,
Passivity for praiseworthy:
The holiness of holding your tongue,
The sacred silence of the sainted sheep.
We tell ourselves, our kids,
Especially our daughters
How PROUD we are of their meekness,
How it shows their selflessness
When we mean ‘self-lessness.’
Little sisters, baby brothers:
Shriek your pain like banshee-ridden hurricanes,
Stand for your right to bitch and moan
And be heard.
Admission is not defeat;
You gain nothing by compliance.