Evening Poetry, March 5

The Laughter of Women

by Lisel Mueller

the laughter of women sets fire

to the Halls of Injustice

and the false evidence burns

to a beautiful white lightness

It rattles the Chambers of Congress

and forces the windows wide open

so the fatuous speeches can fly out

The laughter of women wipes the mist

from the spectacles of the old;

it infects them with a happy flu

and they laugh as if they were young again

Prisoners held in underground cells

imagine that they see daylight

when they remember the laughter of women

It runs across water that divides,

and reconciles two unfriendly shores

like flares that signal the news to each other

What a language it is, the laughter of women,

high-flying and subversive.

Long before law and scripture

we heard the laughter, we understood freedom.

You can find this poem in Alive Together: New and Selected Poems.