blackmail press 31  Marginalization
John Pfitzner

Marginalization - Pauline Canlas Wu
John Pfitzner a retired editor, has been writing poetry for four years. His poems have been published in journals and anthologies and have won awards in competitions. He has co-edited three poetry anthologies. He lives in Adelaide, South Australia.
In between

A clutch of women
outside the zoo in New Delhi
tall, strong-bodied
somehow out of kilter
even in this land of the exotic
neither male nor female
a third gender
lodging on society’s edges
in communities of their own
an affront to the dichotomous world
with its clear-cut categories
defying definition
embodying ambiguity
inhabiting the in between


What cultural cords
keep you tethered to your house?
When you hobble down the driveway,
rocking on worn hips,
and stand at the letterbox
surveying the flat suburban street
with its post-War houses on quarter-acre blocks,
what barrier blocks your way,
holds you from going further?
If you had stayed in the Peloponnese,
would you now,
instead of standing here alone,
be chatting in the street
with other black-clad women
who stay home running households
in a world that favours men?
And during all these years here,
looking after husband,
raising two daughters,
what social isolation limited
your language skills to little more than
How are you, orright? Missus orright?,
leaving you with only your wrinkling smile
and ready wave to express
your enjoyment of company?
You crossed oceans to come here.
What keeps you from crossing the street?