In the list of Jesus’s ancestors in the Book of Matthew
14 by 14 by 14 men marching back to when everything was new
There are four women mentioned who
Were all badly behaved women of some kind, maybe.
(remember your tongue.)
A woman who pretended to be a prostitute (Tamar)
A woman who was a prostitute (Rahab)
A woman so dissolute (Bathsheba)
She bathed and seduced
the king and he killed her husband intentionally.
(remember your decorum.)
Then there’s that miscegenator,
A widow and friend to her husband’s mother (Ruth)
Who followed her off leaving family to glean crops
And be claimed with a sandal as property
Like most women were currently.
(remember your husband.)
And these four are the only grandmothers mentioned
Of Jesus’s great grandmothers and with what they thought of convention
And whatever the author of Matthew intended
Somehow the prudes and patriarchs never amended
This record of the truth of gender
Perhaps they would say regrettably
(remember your education.)
I’m going to tell everyone somehow I think in my mind
And defend you, me, my mother, Anais Nin, and Gertrude Stein,
Let them tell someone else to toe their line
Someone who they’ve managed to keep blind
When they blather on about female chastity incessantly
(remember your vindication.)
Sarah is a social worker in the San Francisco Bay Area with at-risk and homeless youth. She likes to paint, drum, sing, and spend quality time with her family and God in her free time. She is currently working on a book on Sufism, mindfulness and recovery from co-occurring disorders and on an album with her band EYETestify.