Five Generations Ago

She addressed her husband as Mr. Smith.
His first wife dead
after birthing seven children,
she about to do the same.

Their bedroom warmed by a fireplace,
her days given over to service,
making lye soap for Monday’s laundry,
ironing on Tuesday, cleaning on Wednesday,
cooking for the farm hands every day,
last to be seated at the table,
first to be sure everyone got a second helping,
never travelled more than 100 miles from home.
Someone else drove.

Five generations later:
the golden haired Barrett,
long-legged, lean and strong,
thrives on climbing mountains
back-packing in the snow
skiing black diamond runs,
loving the deep blue western sky.

She studies the environment
to make a difference
plans her diet for the least harmful impact
travels to Norway to lead expeditions,
prepares to shoot a polar bear to protect others–
her horizons and steely will
wide as the world.