“Apron Strings” by Beth Gylys

Beth Gylys


I have lied about my mother.
She never wore aprons,
regularly burned dinners.
A student and teacher
with four young kids, she broke
multiple watches—wound
too tight—made lists she’d forget
on countertops and tables.

Forever distracted, forever
rushing about with heels
in one hand, a baby in the other,
who could blame her
for not meeting us at the door
with a hug and a cookie?

Number-cruncher, maker
of money, a modern woman
before the phrase was de rigueur,
my mother opened doors
in business and in solitude.
She would shape our lives
forever by leaving us alone.

from Rattle #51, Spring 2016
Tribute to Feminist Poets


Beth Gylys: “I began to self-identify as a feminist while an undergraduate during the ’80s when I took several courses, which would now have been labeled ‘Women’s Studies’ courses. The women faculty I was drawn to and who taught those classes were first-wave feminists and they (the women and the courses) had a tremendous impact on me. I read Erica Jong, Sylvia Plath, Virginia Woolf, Anne Sexton, and Adrienne Rich. Even before that, though, I had a feminist sensibility. While raising four children, my mother pursued a master’s degree and worked full time. She shaped my belief that women should not be defined only by their relationships. I write about any number of subjects, and I hope as a feminist, my poetry complicates my/our understanding of women.”

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