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.

Stop It

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,

possibilities flushed,
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.


Late Midlife

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

unstudied unfunded
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



What happened

to women
that we are

better pretending

we like the work

of caring?

that we are
beyond anger
before hope
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.