Gift #1 – a poem
for Amy & for Melodie
Some years ago, I sat in the back of a classroom
listening to a poet analyze a pair of black tits.
Not Black as in the heritage,
but black from some sort of stress and disease,
symbolic or literal,
dried up like carob pods in the sun,
fallen off and crumbled like the nose of the sphinx:
a depiction of a woman
who the world had sucked the womanhood out of,
as if that’s all she had
and could now be left discarded
like a zested and hollowed peel,
not even a drop of oil remaining
to scent a younger girl’s wrist.
We talked about it over lunch,
two other women and I,
none of us having been so shriveled,
but surely each of us
having given from our fountain,
having allowed some man
—a writer or a thief—
to march through a metaphorical hole
and take our sacred objects
to be sold for nickels and dimes,
our fountains still bubbling:
a mother, a wife, a daughter,
each with room for more.
(And each building in that space.)
We have a few drinks,
a few plates of sushi,
and we laugh like children
at the dark corners of adulthood.
We laugh so long and hard
that we forget to eat,
until the sushi slides off our chopsticks
and cannonballs into the soy sauce,
splashing a white shirt,
blackening these tits.
We remember, again, the poet,
the story, the desiccated woman,
and we laugh the way a river does
because we are full of more
than a dozen worlds could take.
After the shirt is cleaned up,
the scene, again, replays.
We could go on like this forever,
if we hadn’t worlds to make.
We will go on like this forever
in the worlds we make.