I walk near a group of women
from a graduate class of which I
am of the oldest part.
One class assignment is
a discourse based in
These women, five or six,
the oldest perhaps thirty, sit
on marble steps leading to an old
Columns stand adjacent to its entry.
As they string their beads,
One of the women, holding
beads and twine in her
spread skirt, looks up and good-
naturedly calls my name.
Thinking her greeting an invitation,
I walk up the stairs and
Yet, in their midst I feel
something primal, something timeless:
women stringing beads, making garments,
mending, weaving baskets, grinding maze,
And together, they
converse, they laugh,
they sit quietly while
I feel alien.
It’s not a man’s environment.
Gently, I ease from their midst as
these women go on with
their sacred communal work—
Their ancient women’s ritual.
Looking back now I surmise:
they did not comprehend
their shared depth of being as they sat
so peaceful, so self-possessed. Yet,
as did mine, their spirits knew.