Where The Women Gather Poem by Sojourner Kincaid Rolle

Where The Women Gather

There was a time I sat at the feet of grown women
and was quiet,
thinking I could learn about life
as they stood, sashayed, shimmied, strutted -
strolled, or sat cross-legged on a chaise lounge.

It was always on a Sunday afternoon
having paid their respects and tithes
and listened to the word
at the house of the lord
having shed their hats and gloves
and if it were winter
their full length rabbit fur coats
or cashmere with a chinchilla
collar and matching pillbox hat
or suede... maybe a leopard or a fox
do you remember the Zalinski's
lil fox skins worn whole
like a wreath around the shoulders
fastened mouth to tail
eyes shiny as if they were live.
All these furs and ‘urs
be thrown across the master bed
or the bedroom chairs.
Among the pile of pelts... animal skin purses
almost always reptiles - alligator, lizard.
The room would have strong aroma hide
mingled scents a potpourri
crepe de chine, fleur de lis
chanel #5, Chantilly Lace,
Avon Jasmine.

In the living room, there probably was
a sofa, leather or otherwise - perhaps vinyl
what we used to call pleather
sometimes covered in plastic.

The women would congregate on unmatched chairs
and settees gathered from the disparate reaches of
the house
sipping from cups polished to a t; you could hear
the clink of the good china and if occasion
presented it self the brass candlesticks would be
dinged to show off their authentic ring.

The talk always began with
clothes - someone's outfit would be admired
an understood invitation to recite its pedigree - it
usually began with 'this ol thang I got it at the
Lerner's or Belks or Betty Lou's Boutique's

after x-mas sale or
'o lady so & so gave me'.
Then conversation would drift
to somebody not there - and their attire
'did you see that coat the deacon's wife was
wearing today - 'Girl, I don't even wanta know
what attic she drug that thing out of '.
'I know she needs to take it back'.
All the while, nails
red as fresh blood
darted and flitted wildly
as ice tinkled,
glasses were drained and re-filled
tongues clicked through low down husbands -
both present and ex-
somebody's little devils
half-raised younguns
deadbeat nephews,
racist co-workers.
Here's where the world got spun.

Here's where the truth got told.

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