Women We Are by Leah Hall

My grandmother’s career options were

a nurse

an office assistant 

or a teacher. 

The women in my family don’t follow instructions well and we are a little bit woozy so teacher it is. 

Educator it is

Holders of knowledge and 

molder of minds it is

Givers of time it is 

Drinkers of red wine it is

Essence of kindness and

feminine Divineness it is 


Writer she was 

And fighter she was 

And hug the people you love a little bit tighter she was 


But hurt she was

A bit curt she was 

And go outside but don’t track back in dirt she was 


Traumatized we are 

And dramatized we are 

And “honey why don’t you let me drive the car” we are


For all the patience she has 

Complaisance she has 

And where did I last see her face where she has 

Light in her eyes 

And spite in her thighs 

And generations of “this is not right” in our cries 

The movement we hold 

On this stage makes us bold 

And the stories from our hips in this dance will be told 

Of the towels to fold 

And the babies to hold 

And the way that our power will not be controlled 

My grandmother couldn’t have her own bank account until the year after her second daughter was born.

In 1963 my mother opened her eyes for the first time.

She had no idea what she was seeing yet or that it would all change. 

Swaddled in blankets until she was old enough to 

Swaddle her dollies in blankets until she was old enough to 

Swaddle her daughter in blankets until I was old enough to 

Swaddle my dollies in blankets until I was old enough to make any choice that I want 


What if my grandmother was born today? 

Reporter she might be

Explorer she might be

Building houses with red bricks and mortar she might be 


A dancer she might be

A freelancer she might be

A “screw it all and give this a chance” -er she might be 


This is all in sight for me 

They all had to fight for me 

They screamed so things might end up alright for me 

The darkness still frightens me 

But these women lighten me 


Momma showed me how to walk with my hands on my keys 

How to say thank you and please 

And how to hold space for a friend and to pour them some tea


How to cry when it’s sad 

And to laugh when it’s silly 

And how to bundle myself up in layers when it’s chilly


A teacher she is 

A daughter she is

A mother she is

A sister she is 

A person she is 


Women we are

About the Author

Leah Hall has recently moved to Nelson and has been falling deeply and madly in love at every turn she makes. Naturally this has made for some good writing inspiration and she has been pumping out musings and poems like there’s no tomorrow! You can either find Leah tearing up the dance floor or crocheting on the couch.

Scroll to Top