a rich, kind, liberated man
who figures out what we want? Be honest
now, whatever our public politics,
is that it? Or do we most want power
over our men as I read in Chaucer--
the tables turned and set for us to eat?
Or is it kids? Biology being
thicker than history, each feminist
a repressed mother who'd be happiest
with a family? Or are we fooling
ourselves when we know what we want is love--
the problem is no one to ask it of.
My gay friends ask, Well are you gay or what?
And men agree we're friends, but don't I want
a man? Or husband, my mother wonders,
Don't you want children? My sister wishes
I'd end up with a man who also wants
to change the world and is willing to work
for it. The two of you could do peace work
and stuff, she says, certainly you'd worry
less if you were having more sex. It's weird
not to be with someone, man or woman,
even a nun though celibate is wed
to Jesus Christ. What kind of a woman
are you? I wish I knew, I say, I wish
I knew and could just put it into words.
- Julia Alvarez, two prose excerpts from Homecoming