Monday, July 21, 2008

One Spring

The air was thick
with the promise
of lilacs and rain

that evening
and the clouds hovered

about my shoulders
like the mink

stole from my mother's closet.
I tried on from time to time.
I was sixteen and I knew it.
I tossed my head

like a proud pony,
My hair rippling down my back

in one golden wave
as I walked down

the sultry street.
My bare feet barely

touching the ground.
Past the sounds

of a television,
A dog barking,
A mother calling her child,
My body,

slicing through the heavy air
like a sailboat

gliding on lazy water.

When the blue car

slowed alongside me
I took no notice
Until two faces

leaned out the open window.
"Nice tits you got there ,honey."
"Hey sweetheart,

shine those headlights over here."
"Wanna go for a ride?"
I stopped,
Dazed as a fish thrust out of water
Into sunlight so bright it burns my eyes.
I turn and walk away fast
Head down, arms folded,
Feet slapping the ground.
I hear "Nice ass too."
Then laughter
The screech of tires
And silence.

All at once I am ashamed

of my new breasts
Round as may apples,
I want to slice them off

with a knife
Sharp as a guillotine.
All at once I am mortified

by my widening hips,
I want to pare them down

with a vegetable peeler
Until they are slim and boyish
All at once

I want to yank out my hair
by the roots
Like persistent weeds

that must not grow wild
But I am a sensible girl
I do none of these things

Instead I go home,

watch tv with my parents.
Brush my teeth

and braid my hair for the night
And the next day

I skip breakfast
Eat only an apple for lunch
And buy a calorie counter
Vowing to get thinner and thinner
Until I am so slim that I can slip
through the cracks in the sidewalk
and disappear. and I do.
By Leslea Newman


Vickyann said...

Wow, that is some peice of writing, strong, honest and emotional. I held my breath all the way through.


Anonymous said...

Why would you ever be ashamed of your female body? Your breasts are something to celebrate. Do you want to look like a woman or a 12 year old boy? Your decison I suppose. I wish this poem would have been more celebratory rather than sounding so defeated......still.

Sunny said...

Wow. What an amazing poem. I'm glad you posted it. It's so powerful....sad that a woman was made to feel that way about her beautiful body.

I think it's so sad that our society has made women view themselves as sex objects instead of the wonderful human beings we are. Our breasts, created to feed our infants are turned into objects of sexual desire....our hips, meant to carry our children safely until time for birth are examined by the invasive eyes of strange men.

It's time women took control of our bodies and our lives. We are not here on earth for the amusement of men and their opinions matter not.

At least that's my mentality of late. :)

Ellumbra said...

So the pendulum swings from one extreme to the other.
Nature (God) has given us the physical attraction of one sex to the other, it is futile to deny it, but it is the context, the perspective in which that attraction is contained and expressed, yes, a matter of consciousness, that is all important.
Yes - it's good to make a stand - with strength and resolve - but it is folly to generalise.

Ellumbra said...

BTW - I thought the poem was wonderful.