it won’t do,

grandmother said,

to show bare legs.

you need smoothness

and muscle tone—

not to mention the

barrier between

the hands of men

or even their eyes

and your flesh.


no silk to be had,

and there’s a war,

by the way.

but, still—

the illusion must

remain intact,

nothing’s changed!

a line painted straight,

help each other

out girls—

munitions by day,

eyebrow pencils

by night.

trade coveralls

for painted legs

and do right.


Rosie may be

a riveter,

but she’s also

got to be riveting.

because those men,

they’re coming back

and they’ll expect

your stockinged legs

and painted smiles

to greet them.


grandmother says,

do your part,

but don’t forget

your place,

and please,

just paint your legs.


Juliette van der Molen is a writer and poet living in the Greater NYC
area. Her work has also appeared in Rose Quartz Journal, Burning House
Press, Memoir Mixtapes, Zathom and several other publications.

You can find more of her writing at Medium and connect with her on Twitter

Her debut chapbook, Death Library: The Exquisite Corpse
Collection, was published in August 2018 by Moonchild Magazine.