by Judy Grahn

How they came into the world.
the women-loving-women
came in ten by ten
and ten by ten again
until there were more
than you could count

   they took care of each other
   the best they knew how
   and of each other’s children
   if they had any.

How they lived in the world,
the women-loving-women
learned as much as they were allowed
and walked and wore their clothes
the way they liked
whenever they could. They did whatever
they knew to be happy or free
and worked and worked and worked.
The women-loving-women
in America were called dykes
and some liked it
and some did not.

   they made love to each other
   the best they knew how
   and for the best reasons

How they went out of the world,
the women-loving-women
went out one by one
having withstood greater and lesser
trials, and much hatred
from other people, they went out
one by one, each having tried
in her own way to overthrow
the rule of men over women,
they tried it one by one
and hundred by hundred,
until each came in her own way
to the end of her life
and died:

   The subject of lesbianism
   is very ordinary; it’s the question
   of male domination that makes everybody