Boobs

 

The title sounds fun, but it’s kind of a sad poem. Sorry. I just wrote it on an airplane. I might read it this weekend at Saturday Night Special, along with this poem, since they seem to both fall under the I am uncomfortable with my female body theme. I don’t write poems often, so two poems in half a year is kind of a roll for me. This weekend will be the last time Tomas Moniz hosts Saturday Night Special, so that’s sad, but it’s good motivation to get my butt down there since I haven’t been for quite a few months, and it’s always a fun and enlightening time. 

Boobs

I don’t want boobs, 
Melissa said. We lay in the grass,
Knees bent, staring at the sky.
It was very blue. The grass was very green.
The day was lazy and perfect. For now,
We matched it. I knew her terror exactly.

I looked at our legs,
Summer-scabbed and dirty. Someday soon,
These legs would grow thick and fleshy
And inexplicably bald. Strange dark smells
Would come from us, and the blood
We’d been told so, so much about. Our lankiness
Would become soft and maternal.
We would become frivolous.

We knew. We knew what women were.
The mystery was how it would happen,
By what process would our bodies come
To betray us.

Me, neither,
I said. We lay very still. The breeze
Blew the tall grass, our long, messy hair.

It was all I could say. I couldn’t tell her
About the new, tiny breasts I hid under
My thick sweatshirt all summer, my mother’s
Assessing gaze as I bathed. Her comment:
Your period might start early.
Just that, but I could tell the words chilled

Her blood the same way they chilled mine.
How I’d pulled my old doll from the high shelf
That night, held her tattered body
close until I could sleep.

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Stranger Envy

Every time I look at someone sitting across from me at the coffee shop
Someone working hard on their computer
Writing thoughtfully in their notebook
Someone giving their full attention to the papers spread in front of them
Someone not squirming in their seat, staring out the window
Someone who has a really nice outfit
Stylish and comfortable and well-fitting and unwrinkled
Someone whose hair seems messy in a planned-out way
Someone too focused to care about their hair
Focused yet carefree
Like the Dalai Lama, someone like that
Every time I see this person, envy the wonderful life they lead,
Wonder what it’s like to be
completely perfect in every way,

I try to imagine the person who feels the same way when they look at me
The person who doesn’t notice the tightness of my back
The surging stress hormones in my blood
The pimples and bruises and scratches
The pile of chewed gum in the wrapper next to my computer
The person who looks at me and thinks, I bet her life is perfect.
That person can’t exist every day,
But they might exist any day, the person for whom I’m the perfect stranger.
I think of them, and how they think I am
And I try to be like that.