Mary L. Slocum

Rookie (Gatlinburg, Tenn.)

Are You A Turtle. - Poem by Mary L. Slocum

(a turtle was a safety advertising animal for construction work, created in 1940's- a person in a hard hat)



Are you a turtle?
Bet your sweet ass
I’m a construction worker
It’s a state of mind
I can say “The F word”
At the dropp of a hard hat
I understand all parts of “no”
And can deliver them softly
Or with baseball bat swiftness.
When I stop at the grocery, after work,
No one squeezes the oranges
I just squooze after they see me touch them
I wear my work
In the dirt on my clothes
And in my skin.
When someone mistakes me for a man
I spend the weekend buying perfume, lingerie’
And painting my toenails red.
I’ve painted my tools pink
And no one dares steal them.
I’ve marched on picket lines
And made the headlines.
I understand brotherhood
Tolerates sisterhood.
I drink beer
But prefer it with a lemon.
I’m a female counterpart
Of a history of pain and broken bodies.
Epsom salts has become a close friend.
I’m a construction worker
And a mother.
I’m a mother electrician.
I know my rights,
I know the politics,
And when necessary
I know when to fight
And how to pick em’
Sometimes I feel
I know too much
For my own good.


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Poem Submitted: Thursday, June 9, 2011

Poem Edited: Thursday, June 9, 2011


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