I am not born as yet,
five minutes before my birth.
I can still go back
into my unbirth.
Now it’ s ten minutes before,
now, it’ s one hour before birth.
I go back,
into my minus life.
Gender & Sexuality
I am not born as yet,
Here, in the half-dark of the sauna,
the bodies of the women glisten...
Naked, disproportionate, lush,
hung and burdened with flesh, they open slowly,
like orchids blooming out of season.
Sweat beads my forehead.
Heat rings my breasts, like circlets,
and I am my body, all shimmering flesh.
Then there's the Yemeni legend
of Eve in the Garden knitting
a pattern on the serpent's back,
the snake unfinished like the rest
of creation, the first woman
thinking to add design, a sheath
of interlocking diamonds and stripes
along that sensuous S,
Like nearly all women under sixty she would have deftly
avoided meeting the eyes of an unknown man —
but occasionally an exception happens by chance
and her unconscious skill at avoidance gets instantly
replaced by a human generosity which is either
inherently feminine or gender-trained, as you please;
she glanced at me exactly when I glanced at her
in the store at the mall and so she gave me
that momentary slight smile which implies
Though many men are dangerous, and I do not intend
Hunched in the bath, four ibuprofen gulped
too late to dull the muscle cramping
to sate a god who thirsts
monthly for his slake of iron,
I am just a body bleeding in bad light.
If your mother’ s like mine wanting you honeyed and blithe
you’ ll get cooked by getting evicted
since the mothers can teach with a dustpan the tons of modes of tossing.
And the fathers will lift your eyes too-early-too-open:
the fathers can creep up on anything when it’ s still too wet
to cloister with their weeping and strand you like a seed
At the end of my stepfather’ s life
when his anger was gone,
and the saplings of his failed
nursery had grown into trees,
my newly feminist mother had him
in the kitchen to pay for all
those years he only did the carving.
“You know where that is,”
she would say as he looked
for a knife to cut the cheese
and a tray to serve it with,
his apron wide as a dress
above his workboots, confused
as a girl. He is the one I think of now,
lifting the tray for my family,
the guests, until at last he comes
I am the Woman, ark of the law and its breaker,
Who chastened her steps and taught her knees to be meek,
Bridled and bitted her heart and humbled her cheek,
Parcelled her will, and cried "Take more!" to the taker,
Shunned what they told her to shun, sought what they bade her seek,
Locked up her mouth from scornful speaking: now it is open to speak.
That which installs itself in the mind embraces sound
rounding the fecund earth
Birth, as in what is not, as in one makes one,
is a mighty absence to understand
(and there are those who fail to get their lessons done)
Dun is the color of submission
Unfledged, she leafs through what has been nothing never
Never to be what she is/ or could /or hope to be
Bewitched by dictions (fictions) on the surface —
Face naming that which she must save, polished like an apple —
... some days ago I saw the picture of an Angel who, in making the Annunciation, seemed to be trying to chase Mary out of her room with movements showing the sort of attack one might make on some hated enemy; and Mary, as if desperate, seemed to be trying to throw herself out of the window. Do not fall into errors like these.
— Leonardo da Vinci
It is time to speak of the lies
of images, omissions, insertions —
imitations of reality,
but whose reality, Leonardo?
For you she’s in nature —