Are Women People Yet?
By Alexandra Beers.
“My body is upright now, my curling impulse / banished. I am unafraid and unshy. / I allow desire because it is so rarely turned / my way. I am not a work of art. Touch me / and you may find I do not break or melt / or scream, anymore. A woman, / almost retired from the fight to survive.“
Paradise by Miroslav Duzinkevych.
Besides the usual I allow inside me—
fingers, tongue, so-called manhood—
I have pressed all manner of items within
to sop the blood of decades of sloughing:
cotton, Kleenex, cordless vacs,
orange peels, coffee filters, bookmarks, hats—
anything to mop the flood
of all my fertile years.
Once, I ran out of ideas so I tried
The Power of Positive Thinking.
I bled all around the Guggenheim,
through a bodega, into a Christmas Eve concert.
This lasted until Easter
so children could follow my trail
over hill and dale
to find the best eggs.
Last year, I thought I’d bled enough.
The country was divided
between racists, misogynists,
average pricks on one side,
and my bloating uterus
on the other. I hoped my loss
would pause and I might cross
the sea that gushed between us.
My endometrium kept churning
to ovulate and ooze,
more mess on the ground.
I tried Wonder Bread, ugly throw pillows,
journals that declined. Crusted potholders,
veggie gyoza, W-2 forms unfiled.
Still, I bled. I bleed and bleed,
and may yet continue until
all I have left are the dry leaves of winter,
and LP’s that skip,
and the speeches of Dr. King.
There is a young person I know
with fingernails so long and sharp
I imagine nobody coming near.
They admitted, bent over by the bathroom,
that their jeans cut off circulation.
I laughed, remembering the discomforts
of youth, of trying so hard to say something
without having to speak.
My body is upright now, my curling impulse
banished. I am unafraid and unshy.
I allow desire because it is so rarely turned
my way. I am not a work of art. Touch me
and you may find I do not break or melt
or scream, anymore. A woman,
almost retired from the fight to survive.
This is my hair, my face, the voice
I use for most emotions,
my actual labia that have given life
and pleasure, in and out of order.
Is it not intriguing—a body lived and unbent?
My nails are clipped and will not scratch.
Are Women People Yet?
The folds of skin
the brittling bones
of a certain age
the turning miracle
of ovulation paused
unnoticed except for her
who sweats the nights
and smiles at questions
and dyes her hair
to feel the same.
When I allow myself
to be seen
those who notice
have no idea what
they are looking at.
Not young not old.
Not dumb not wise
that we are
we like the work
that we are
and still misidentified?
The Blood Pudding – September 27, 2021
Alexandra Beers has been a Learning Specialist for 30 years. She holds an MS Ed. from Bank Street College and an MFA from Sarah Lawrence. Her poems have been published in various journals, most recently The Hampden-Sydney Poetry Review. Currently at work on a novel, Alex lives in the Berkshire Mountains of Western Massachusetts.
Artwork: Miroslav is a Ukrainian-born American artist now living in New York City. Originally from the Carpathian region, Miroslav has absorbed the spirit of the beautiful mountains and the deep respect for tradition inherent in Western Ukraine’s people. The artist’s canvases reflect his keen perception of the world in general and his native region, in particular. You can find his work here.