the cleaners are scrubbing the Institute lavatories
because women are supposed to do that.

the girls are typing in the Institute offices
because women are dedicated and careful

the women are assembling printed circuits
because woman are good at delicate work
and women’s eyes are expendable

the young men are doing their PhDs
because young men are obedient and ambitious
and someone wants warheads
laser rangefinders
hunt and destroy capabilities
multichannel night seeking radar
and science is neutral

back home the wives of the PhD students are having babies
because women are maternal and loving
and who else can have children but women?

at the top of the tower the old men and the middle aged men
and sometimes one woman professor
meet to form plans, cadge funds and run the place
because obedient young men turn into obedient old men
and it’s all for the good of the country
and defence funds are good for science
and science is neutral
and no one notices Moloch.

the woman bring them
clean toilets
cups of coffee
typescripts
micro circuits oh so neatly assembled
and children

and it’s hard to see Moloch because he is both far away
and everywhere
and no one asks to whom they are all obedient

and they say, “Who’s Moloch? Never heard of him”
as out in the dark Moloch belches
and grows redder and redder
and fatter and fatter
as he eats the children

Mary McCann (1992). First published by Pomegranate Women’s Writing Group
found in Alastair McIntosh’s Soil and Soul: People versus Corporate Power