the feminist bias

She worked in a power plant,
in a control room, with walls
like some B-movie space ship — 
buttons and switches, and
monitors and blinking lights
from the floor to the ceiling.

She’d work long long hours
(would come home at sunrise
when I was going off to school).
It was hard work, but far better 
than working in the coal yard
(with the coal cars, and dozens
of tough-guy macho burn-outs
and all their idiot-whistles and 
sexually suggestive gestures,
and horny-guy propositions).

Endless train cars full of coal,
when she worked in the yard,
would roll in along the tracks,
stopping over cavernous chutes 
and she, with her great strength, 
would hoist high the iron bar 
(which weighed as much as she did), 
and she’d swing the bar down 
striking the lever, and coal would
explode out the bottom, down 
the chute, and she’d stand there
in the black cloud, her muscles 
glistening, until the next coal car 
rolled into its position.

When she earned her promotion
to the space ship, most of those
macho tough-guys resented her.
She could do whatever they could
(that much was obvious, now),
and when she passed the tests,
it became clear: she could do more. 
And all those men, most of whom 
never offered her a lick of help, 
now stood sheepish, empty headed, 
as she hustled right-on past them,
leaving them all standing there
scratching beer bellies in her dust.
__ __
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