This is the story of an architect
who drew all her blueprints in permanent ink
and never built her projects in glass.
Her brother was careful and always had
two sharpened pencils and an eraser tucked into his belt.
He was the type to use glass as a favorable building material.
He was, in basic terms, a man of
And she, in basic terms, a prototypical woman
with reckless stored in her bones
and genius in the toilet.
Oh honey, their parents would say to her,
their voices smudged somewhere between
pity and discomfort,
you can't build a skyscraper without planning.
But the architect continued with her rolls of penned-in sketches.
She rose the same way her buildings did.
Once she was on a date with one of those Wall Street boys,
the ones who threw out dirty china
instead of running them under the tap,
and she told him what she did for a living.
He laughed in between the shrimp and the lobster.
Really? he said, his voice smudged somewhere between
surprise and indifference,
And you understand the science of architecture perfectly?
She told him she was the female incarnate of Filippo Brunelleschi,
the Renaissance architect and scientist
who championed the Florence dome when everything defied him.
Her date laughed again after dessert and said,
See you next Friday?
The architect never called him again.
Another time she organized a meeting
to pitch herself to another employer.
He was the type of person who didn't use contractions
and said duh-tail instead of dee-tail.
The secretary buzzed him in his office
and told him that a woman was here for his 1:30 appointment.
Then she hung up the phone
and informed her that her boss had changed his mind.
The architect stopped admiring the edifices patroned under his name.
People looked at her differently all the time, she could not deny this.
And she knew their minds were working fast,
but not nearly as fast as hers
when she was brainstorming ideas.
Most times, they treated her with an uncomfortable,
rigid politeness, the same way you tiptoe through the trees
before ensnaring the prey.
But the architect wasn't interested in self-demolition.
She still didn't pencil in her blueprints
and never had she called for glass.
She broke their fear of difference.
She built skyscrapers instead.
Half the Manhattan skyline was hers.