Everything has its price, you know.

Ginny and Jill and Linda
and Judy and Iris and Jane,
those early seventies nights
walking home, arm in arm,
our consciousness raised,
on fire with freedom,
sleeping beauties liberated
from our babysitting husbands,
our cottages and town houses
awash in tie-dyed curtains,
cat-eyed mobiles and sandboxes.
We were free, free
to run to the exotic arms of strangers,
to forget the fat-creased limbs
of the babies we adored,
to eat alone in restaurants,
to be alone forever.
Free not to care if we were.

The men were puzzled
or angry or frightened, their wives
returning wide-eyed and flushed,
loosening their hair
not from some furtive assignation
but from a meeting of ladies,
to speak like union bosses
of contracts and rights. We
took off our bras, not for love,
but for freedom. The men
bleary-eyed, not touching, listened
to women’s secrets—a new world order
where all would be shared:
children and bodies and the
cleaning of toilets.

We knew nothing of men—
those strangers
who ate from tuna fish cans,
those infants unable to live
without our breasts—
their fairy-tale bodies
waiting in hairy disguises
to be freed by our touch.
Nor of flesh, how it can dull
in the hands of strangers,
how it takes a lifetime
to learn just one body.
Nor how love can annihilate
self and fear and time.
Oblivious to Rumpelstiltskin,
we knew only that everyone
wanted us for their own:
babies and men—and freedom.