—for Lois Taylor
“Lady and gentlemen, welcome.”
One woman among two hundred men.
I imagine her looking up at the glass ceiling,
That blocked my mother and my aunts.
She conceived of a plan to take it down.
The chief engineer hired her, made her his ghost
Writer. She pored over the carriers’ schematics,
The operational plans for the Navy’s nuclear subs,
Wrote out procedures for the equipment’s
Qualification, the commercial plants, re-translated
Documents from Chernobyl—
No more word was heard from the control room.
It gave me shivers working on that thing—
Spoke the language of men, perhaps better than them.
I imagine she saw the hardware that
Fastened the glass to the ceiling. She
Reached up with her tools and removed the panes, climbed a ladder,
And stood up in a room where she saw my mother.
“Welcome, ladies. Let’s get to work.”
©2020 by Peter Buck