few months busting in at the roof, an amiable storm
of pubescence. From the
to stir up. One girl cries like pain from the bathroom
very morning sudden rude buds of breast
mound from bones she liked. "Didn't
this means I won't get any taller?
I hate it. I wanted to be
Another floated nude through the upstairs hall
across the big mother bed for inspection
of a lone pubic hair she was going
then remembered maybe it should be there.
Tampons are discussed
next to the toast.
What, will there be no more mysteries?
know where to turn
with their new bleeding, no fantasy of wounds
them. One by one they are taken out
to celebrate: cold shrimp curling over
parsley on every plate, warm sideways sips of wine,
taste they'd like to learn to like,
"becoming a woman." Mother
conspire in smiles to order dessert at lunch,
for this festival
of blood. It's hard to imagine now:
but later, the fight to be less and less
© 1997 Jessica Manke
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be meek, patient, tactful, modest, honorable, brave, is not to be either manly
or womanly; it is to be humane."
- Jane Harrison