Bonafides

They look at me like someone tamed out of the wilderness:
burned out of foreign villages made from thatch, unbathed
and stuttering amid the ruins. How did I come to learn
their geometry, take their measure, provide blueprints
for their progeny’s future? A friend once advised, as we
tended the copy machine: work quietly at your perfection,
for they resent being shown up. That was decades ago;
now, she’s both physician and COO. Even so, the self-
important person gasping for breath in the ER insists
that he be seen by “a real doctor.” In classrooms where I
have stood under fluorescent lights, marker in hand before
the whiteboard, I’m the one who points out: woman, not
a women; could have, not could of; in spite, not despite,
of. Insinuation of impostor against their bonafides.

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