Liberating Words: Master of the House

The poems in our ongoing “Liberating Words” series were written in an interdisciplinary course for high school juniors at The Winsor School, an all-girls school in Boston, Mass. The course, “The Personal Is Political: An Interdisciplinary Look at Feminism,” is co-taught by Libby Parsley, a History teacher, and Susanna Ryan, an English teacher. The second unit of the course focuses on the history and literature of second-wave feminism—the women’s liberation movement of the 1960’s and 70’s. Students read a compilation of poems by women writers from that period and then wrote their own poems; the assignment asked them to represent an issue or problem they see as central to 21st-century women’s experience through the very personal genre of poetry.

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Master of the House
by Julie Wilson

Mommy’s little girl
Daddy’s little man
In the tiny kitchen with a toy saucepan
Flowers on her dress
Lightning on his shoes
He likes other colors but he sticks with blues

She tells him to sit
He stands awkwardly

Wonders, is there something wrong with him or me?

She puts down her spoon
And pulls up two chairs
His eyes crinkle at the edges

Then there’s an instant of breathless air

Bluebells pepper the plush ground
Lightning exclaims gently in the velvet clouds
They become children

Are those Mommy’s feet?
Is that Daddy’s voice?

It can’t just be thunder making all that noise
She’s back in the chair
He’s sitting beside
Stands up in an instant, he can’t lose his pride

She swallows a sigh
Holds back her disdain
Goes back to the kitchen just to start again

Julie Wilson is sixteen years old and lives right outside of Boston. Her passions include writing, swimming, and playing the piano.



Lia Kornmehl is a junior at the Winsor School who is passionate about jazz music, milk chocolate, and equal opportunities for women in the workplace.