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Poetry

This Female Body

after Margaret Atwood

Antoinette Brim

I.
From a primordial pool of sleep, she rises into morning.  Finds her footing on wooden floors that remember epochs in grain and rings.  She is sweet sandalwood, sleep-musk and dreams trailing.  Her lips suck mango cubes into smooth sustenance.  Her nostrils invite wisps of coffee into her waking mind.  Bathed in steaming water, soothed in oil, she will wrap herself in prayer, laughter and balm.  She will stroll the sidewalk.  Smiling. 

II.
Without crinoline or costume.   Her body is tacit art.  When she is timid, her locs become veil.  When she is worried, her hands clasp each other, holding her hope tight between them.  Her lips curve into welcome.  Spread into joy.  The breadth of her arms, the length of her legs are Amazon authority, and refreshing river spray.  Her moods are lunar phases:  dark moon meditating /wisdom waxing/anger waning. 

III.
Once teeming with life, her womb was a taut bulge weighted with joy, and blessed by the kick and spin of future generations.  She was breath and bread.  Blood and buoyancy.   Her womb is quiet now, in delicate ruin. 

IV.
 She cans the fruit of her own labor.  Lays brick upon brick.  Weaves what was threadbare into warmth.   She says:  We are safe now.

V. 
 Stepping stone, Cornerstone,
Load-bearing wall,
Rose blossom trellis,
Ancestral hall.

Capitalist, Socialist
Temple guard,
Magistrate, Potentate
Marshalling yard.

Anaphora, Tanka,
Triolet,
Villanelle,
shattered    sonnet.

VI.
give all/surrender
patient/kind/   protect
hope/persevere

put away childish things

VII.
This female brain is always searching:  for lost change/buttons/matching socks/the right words to say.   This female brain is always keeping time.  In the fabric of space, she weaves dreams into lullabies.  This female brain is always measuring:   his thigh with her thigh, the length of his shin with her cupped sole.  She is listening to him; listening to herself talking to him.  But, she is the music:  a swelling aria filling the sanctuary, drifting up to the rafters.

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