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