* Vanessa Jimenez Gabb *

from “The Lady of Civilization”
after Friedrich Engels’ The Origin of the Family, Private Property, and the State



No house, I have


I have a far off reality

as do you

we were savage

before we were barbarian

anthropologists say

and economists

I can say

I have a memory

of an opening

of walking

into another epoch

but not a belief in it

this is called civilization

ask me

where I am

and I will

ask you for the answer

what have we done?

us but all of us

what could our love have been

if not born

from 18th-century enlightenment?

I could have been

a forest

a mother

among the Iroquois Senecas

a great clanswoman

before the herds

of horses

sheep and pigs

bred by the Euphrates

with milk and meat

rapidly men augment

and learn

a more advanced application

of work and property

men obtained food

and so the instruments

of work

the division of labor

our division of labor

being what it was

we worked so hard

didn’t we?

I believe we did

in our ways

but where

is the knowledge of this?

wealth increased

matriarchal law of inheritance

was overthrown

but we have no knowledge

of this either

the overthrow

of mother-right was the world

historical defeat

of the female sex

all things were changed

into commodity

the whole globe was taken

Vanessa Jimenez GabbVanessa Jimenez Gabb is the author of Images for Radical Politics, which was the Editor's Pick for the 2015 Rescue Press Black Box Poetry Prize, and is forthcoming in fall 2016. She also wrote the chapbooks midnight blue (Porkbelly Press, 2015) and Weekend Poems (dancing girl press, 2014). She is from and lives in Brooklyn.

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