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I Would Be a Better Woman If I Were Dumber or Nicer photo

People are always saying Good and you?
& I say it too     me & other women
with synapses going up like stars

these days it’s red & rusted: my thin-making
work with kettlebells, crumpled knuckles,
watery blood in my menstrual cup.
Check horoscopes, look for signs.

I don’t even bother kidding anymore.
Or I do. I kid so long &
so loud that Cassiopeia laughs
—that queening
from above. Talking shit
as a birthright     horizontal violence
from the matriline      &

someone’s pokey breasts in a boyfriend’s
t-shirt  & the silicones we rub
into our faces & the glass ceiling
that was supposed to be a sunburst
through a grey November day

with you crying & me crying
in the inner knowledge that
we could catch a piece of the shatter
& put it on a pendant

for all of us, forever.

I thought we were lucky now, in liberation—
now we believe we can do hard things with our bodies, too
but only

the things that men can do:       run a marathon
or climb a mountain

still, I always knew I could carry temples
in my body, create silk
from my cells.

Take up space, you say, bite back,
   & all the parts of me agree
                        including the fertile fluid
            sloshing from my cervix

 the adamantine muscle of the womb

the gorgeous yellowed pelvic bones
—my ancestors rotting their magic
where I walk



image: Tara Wray