A Progressive Lens

The Undefended Border

My husband wants to know why the line is always broken.
I say the poem is made of words, but the words are not
the poem. The words are the way in. The broken

lines are openings. I remember how his skin turned
gold under a streetlight the first time he took off his shirt,
and I saw his waist, small below the broadness of

his shoulders. I took hold of his shoulder blade, the narrow
rudder of a slender boat. Which is the poem? I ask,
his shoulder blade or the words: narrow, slender, boat.

~

This Kind of Fairytale

We polish our big bellies with creams,
          we henna Eden vines on them,
we Buddha rub them, as do strangers, for wealth.
          In birth class they tell us
your body was made for this. They tell us
          your mothers were strapped down and drugged.
We are capable of doing so much more:
          of squatting, of controlling our contracting
muscles, of talking to our babies, guiding them out.
          Picture your cervix opening, opening
they tell us, and we picture mandalas everywhere—

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