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