©Michelle Quraishi, 2012

I am not
a traditional woman.
My hands,
rigid in their pao qyun,
slice the air
clear and seek—
confounding imagined opponents.

Bulging thighs
do not comfortably cross,
or lead the eye to delicate,
deliberately placed
But rather bunch and cord
with unhidden strength—
I can carry all the groceries
up the steps at once,
thank you.

I walk dark alleys at night
think only of the smell of jasmine.
Driving, one hand masters
the car with its easy,
practiced grip on the wheel.
I carry crisp twenties to buy my own dinner
swing the bat with a homerun crack
and nearly always know which way is north.
If you quell your expectations
listen as often as you speak
find out what I know
admit what you don’t
and every once in a while still bring me flowers—
I just might let you taste my pie.

©Michelle Quraishi, 2012

Michelle Quraishi became a BAWP TC in 2001, reigniting her lifelong ambition to write more. After a decade in elementary classrooms, she now lives in Walnut Creek with her husband and two young children, and has recently rejoined the school world as the mother of a Kindergartner. This year she worked with BAWP to establish a Young Writers’ Camp in Singapore.

6 Responses to “All the Women are Strong by Michelle Quraishi”

  1. Judy Bebelaar Says:

    I like the deft way you mix images and ideas – and the last two lines are great! Judy

  2. Oh, my! I love the generosity of these images. And the last two lines are fantastic. May we all be able to say those words at some point in our lives. 🙂

  3. carol anderson Says:

    The images of strength and confidence are coming through to me, even in the simpliest of tasks in our every day life.
    You have been surrounded by strong women, especially in your own family. A tribute to them!!

  4. Jean Brandt Says:

    Michelle: We are strong women!!! Sometimes we wonder when the event of everyday live get us down – we can’t explain, – but do we quit—NEVER. Love, Aunt Jean

  5. Joyce Y. Says:

    Michelle, thanks for sharing your writing with me. I love reading it.

  6. Lily Kaplan Says:

    I love that you ‘nearly always know which way is north…’ as if “True North” is an inner guiding force. And the possible double entendre of “might just let you eat my pie” makes me laugh! Love it! Thanks for sharing it with us…strong women, all! 😉

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