i am woman, and woman is a language

i speak fluently. men could cut their bootstraps

on the edges of me. breasts grow where once flat

earth moved, and soft skin hides near the borders

of the imagination. i speak of the ups and downs,

of fertility and new growth and hiding yourself

in the dirt before the rains of other women get to you.

i have seen the dust rise and settle

over the plains of womanhood, i have seen

the sun rise and set over the foothills of

our breasts. i speak this language not because

i am a woman by choice, but because i am

a woman born and bred.

we are both writers, she and i, and

it is a language all writers speak in broken

stutters. our lampshades constantly lean the

wrong direction, our pictures hang crookedly

on the walls. and it depends what day it is as

to whether we care about that or not.

i have seen the heat rise and trap itself

in the ceiling of the mind, i have seen the sun rise

and set beyond the field of my paper. i speak this

language not because i am a writer by choice, but

because i am a writer born and bred.

and you can tell a writer from a woman by

the way they pause like they are making a story in

their heads, unlike the way a good woman makes

a white lie so she doesn't hurt anyone's feelings. a

woman is different from a writer because she always

remembers to feel indignancy before anger, where a

writer, they take that anger and they feed their fingers.

but you can take a woman and put her in a

writer, and you can take that writer and put them in a

woman, and that combined language is the sharpest

you have ever heard. and sometimes i feel awkward

being both at once, because a writer and a woman are

the two most formidable things anyone can be without

carrying a pistol or taking the pin out of a hand

grenade.