on reading about the proposed stamp commemorating female veterans (yes, I'm one)

they’re going to give us our own postage stamp,
hot damn!
when i was in the air force
the men called us cunts and whores and said
that WAF==*== stands for women-all-fuck.
and my mama asked if it was true we were all lesbos
under our uniforms like my master-
sergeant uncle told her.
i said some of us are.
we stood proud around our flag at burials.
besides being whores and cents and lesbians
we were good soldiers.
we held our m-16s.
we shined our shoes.
and now the government who keeps us typing
and sopping blood,
who keeps us out of the combat zone
and off combat pay (because, as my recruiter said,
females freak-out under fire,
you know), this government,
who has phased us out of the silos
claiming our delicate fingers might fail
to press the heavy buttons required
to blast millions into oblivion,
who feeds us lies about equality,
now this government is giving us our own stamp
just like the extinct pigeons
and out-dated steam engines.
i guess i’m supposed to be thrilled
by the recognition
but
in the name of my sister cunts and whores and lesbians
let me tell you, mister,
it is too little too late
and if you think it makes up for anything
you are as full of shit
as any lackland latrine
during the first week
of basic training.

by Ali MacDonald

Reprinted with permission from Phoebe 3, No. 2, Fall 1991. Phoebe is an interdisciplinary journal of feminist scholarship, theory and aesthetics, available from Women’s Studies Program, State University of New York College at Oneonta, Onenonta, NY 13820-4015, USA.

*== WAF — a woman member of the US Air Force