on hearing Jeffrey Harrison describe the shoulders of women

My shoulders are not on display.
If they ripple, it is strength from years
of propping others up.

If they are bare, it is that I had no time
to cover myself. If they are strong
it is because I made them so.

They are not your wishbones.

If my hips curve, it is from bearing
down too hard to release new lives.
If my breasts swell, it is from feeding people.
If I walk with a sway, it is because I need
to be someplace, fast. There are places

I must be, alone.

This body was made for me, not you.
It is no one’s for the taking.
Just because you bit some shiny apple
doesn’t mean I’m yours.

Key words: writer’s almanac, poetry, possession, feminism

About Janice

After years of writing--poetry, essays, articles, reports--I turned to drawing as a way to cope with grief over the death of my grandmother. This turn to drawing has become a complete opening to it, and has led to publication of my first picture book, "What Are Mothers For?" A joyful reflection on the long and loving relationships between women of all ages and stages of life.
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