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This is a Prayer to Ama-no-Uzeme, Baubo, and Silly Old Aunts. This is a Prayer for Resistance.

sheela


This is a prayer to Ama-no-Uzeme. This is a prayer for Resistance.

This is a prayer to her sister, Baubo. This is a prayer for Resistance.

This is a prayer for the old women who dance naked to make us laugh. This is a prayer for Resistance.

This is a prayer for jokes about drinking, jokes about chin hair, jokes about gas. Old women make up the Resistance.

This is a prayer for laughing at yourself, taking no one too seriously, being self-aware. Old women make up the Resistance.

This is a prayer for the tricksters, a prayer to old broads, a chant about tennis shoes and walkers. Old women make up the Resistance.

When the Moon is full, I call to them.

I bring wine to make them bawdy. I bring mirrors to hang upon trees. I bring a long history of getting over yourself.

I bring breasts that droop, Shelia Na Gig t-shirts, and gin (old women always drink gin).

“Come, Ancient Tricksters,” I say. “Come dance and make our laughter turn into freedom.”

They come as they have always come. Laughing among themselves at some old secret. Carrying casseroles, wearing shawls, with purses that hold Cherries in the Snow lipsticks, worn down, half-full, years old.

They come as they have always come. Singing old songs only they remember. Tickling babies and pinching cheeks, exclaiming in awe over the miracle of children growing taller.

They come as they have always come. In sweaters, even in June. A box of rugelach, divinity in a metal tin, a cardboard box that looks like the car in a circus train, filled with animal crackers. Soup.

“Grandma!” I cry. “Aunt Ester!” “Great Goddesses of mirth! We can’t laugh when our democracy is failing. We can’t be happy when injustice has won. We want to hide.”

“Old Ones,” I cry. “You who drool and wheeze! Forget Vaudeville, forget stand-up, forget old knock-knock jokes! All is in ruins and we are bereft. No jokes can save us; we want to retreat from this fight!”

They poke us in the ribs, Ama-no-Uzeme, Baubo, and Shelia Na Gig. They pinch our cheeks and tickle us under our chins. They tell us to eat, get some rest, go for a walk.

They whip off their jogging suits. Drop their house dresses. Stomp on their own dignity.

“What would you do if you weren’t afraid to look silly?” they challenge us. “The only way I can teach you how to fight is to slip this lesson in between your pride and your fear,” they tell us. “How would you do this if it were the last thing you would do?” they insist upon asking. “Strip away all your pretense. Do the one thing that needs to be done. Never be afraid again.”

Listen.

This is a prayer to foolish old women. Old women make up the Resistance. This is a prayer to Ama-no-Uzeme, Baubo, and Silly Old Aunts. This is a prayer for Resistance.

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