It was never a dress, they say
As if a cape were somehow more practical
For fighting than a dress
(Though both are still preferable to heels
I should know – I’ve worn them all
Throughout my various incarnations)

Still, a true warrior
Takes what circumstance
Throws her way
And uses those supposed detriments
To her advantage

A dress? Beguile your enemy
Enchant them
Stash a sword
A cape? Entangle your enemy
Confuse them
Bind them as if with a lasso
Heels? Kick your enemy
Trip them
Make sure they stay down
With your foot at their throat

(Though it’s always better
To first extend a hand in peace
Before raising it in battle)

The fight is not won
By focusing on the costume
Or even the weapons
(Though sometimes those are
One and the same)
The fight is won –
And lost –
In the hearts and minds
Of the warriors
Whatever they may wear

Those who don capes and swords
Those sporting power suits and cell phones
Those in spit up-stained shirts
And a baby on each hip

We all fight the same battle every day
Superhero, executive, stay-at-home mom
Let us not ridicule one another
Over our choice of attire
But join ranks and march forward
Side by side
Facing a world that sees us only
As capes, or dresses, or heels

That is how we win
A skirmish
Then a battle
Then the war
My sisters
Heels and all

Marsheila Rockwell is a multiple Scribe and Rhysling Award nominee and the author of twelve books to date, the most recent being a novel based on the popular video game Mafia III (written with husband/writing partner Jeffrey J. Mariotte). Her work also includes the acclaimed H/SF novel 7 SYKOS (w/Mariotte); a Xena: Warrior Princess trilogy (w/Mariotte); The Shard Axe series, the only official novels for the global MMORPG, Dungeons & Dragons Online; two collections; dozens of short stories and poems; and multiple articles on writing and the writing process. Find out more here: http://www.marsheilarockwell.com/.