Saturday, October 29, 2016

Pink Afternoon

It may be good, at this time, when a woman seeking power is skewered
every possible way by people with half her brain and ability,
when I want to rear-end the skinny young kid in the backwards baseball cap
whose white SUV bears a “Trump that bitch” bumper sticker,
it may be good to check out of the newsfeed and enter the world of pink robes
for a Friday afternoon of herbal tea in the pastel waiting room
while a doctor reads the images of the heterogeneously dense breasts
that earned me a callback to once again have that machine press them down
like panini and I’m told to hold my breath and then let it go and I must
close my eyes and make that tiny whimper that remains inside my palate
like the sound of a prehistoric couple having sex in a cave, but here it’s all
so civilized, all of us pink ladies (yes, I know some men get mammograms)
reading our magazines or in my case Bad Feminist, title in a light pink font
on the otherwise white cover, but here we are pink and white, pink and beige,
pink and brown, pink and silver—there’s that butch woman who works
where I work and has been power-walking on her lunch break since before
my adult daughter was born, and she’s slim as a wick and small-chested
which means it was probably more painful for her, as it was for me
when I was thinner and had smaller breasts; there are grandmothers, too,
but what do I mean, since I could have been a grandma 20 years ago
if reproductive years are truly reproductive years; some woman my age
bends over me to find a magazine, technically invading my space,
but here there is some slack for that, and the sun just floods the room
as though we’re in the same studio as the perky women’s voices
on the daytime talk show that’s too low for me to hear enough to follow.
I always consider this a sacred ritual, and I’m glad the hospital agrees
by making it as pleasant a place as possible for possibly discovering that
the things on your mind when you parked the car are suddenly unimportant.
The ladies in pink robes know what I’m talking about, all have cupped
their breasts alone and thought about them as friends or foes
or simply something that’s theirs, geological as a nose. In 2016,
we may have our first woman president; there are still two weeks to go.
It will certainly not have been easy. That kind of clamping scrutiny,
that kind of bitter attack is just history sticking its moth-eaten face
through the screen and reminding us of something our mothers told us,
based on what our grandmothers told them, and on back to that cave
where a couple had sex, or perhaps a man grabbed a woman, pushed her
down and mounted her, not caring how she felt about this, unequipped
to believe in much beyond fighting enemies, killing food, getting laid,
and maintaining position. All of this is screened out in the pink afternoon,
through this floral diffusion of preventive health care for women.
I want to break the sisterly silence to say something about how lucky
we are that we don’t have to rely on Planned Parenthood for this,
but who knows which of us has a malignancy and needs to save her energy?

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Let Me Remind You of Your Amazingness

How do they do it, the candidates
jetting from city to town, shaking hands,
barking out their big plans? At first,
I am amazed, but then one day
I think how neither one of them
has to wash their clothes,
cook their food, do their dishes;

they are assisted with everything,
even dressing, and a staff of people
help them with the main thing they do:
connect with as many people as possible,
attracting votes to their palpable names.
I wonder if they ever feel nostalgic
for a time when they had chores to do,
or if they can even remember.

Does the rich guy with the wig
look back with fondness
at the military school regime of tasks,
before the tax-free years of golden toilets?
Does the woman who lived in a governor’s mansion
and the White House ever crave taking steel wool
to a pan of seared beef? I used to have to carry
my clothes to a laundromat; I don’t ever
get warm, fuzzy feelings for that,
and I wouldn’t just do it for fun of a feeling
of authenticity. Of course, anyone seeking
public office is someone of great energy
and persistence. Some of them are even
smart and good. I just think it gets easy

to see them at one lectern after another
and think to yourself, “I am lazy
compared to this being.” In this ugly election year,
let me remind you of all your amazingness,
you who have no one to pick up your clothes,
cut your grass, make your food. If we gave
each of them our longest day of the week,
I think they’d learn a thing or two.
We could trade roles, go on the trail
and say what we think about the state of the world.
It would be annoying to be in the public eye,
and they would probably be bored
with our mundane privacies. For instance,
here we've gone all day without our puppy
peeing on the floor, and that’s a lasting victory.