How to Go About Understanding Without Stepping on It Directly
I remember developing breasts,
(it was the same year the Russians launched Sputnik)
and going with my aunt to buy my first fully-trained bra,
and learning from the lady at Tots-to-Teens
how important it would be someday
to bend over at the waist when I put it on
and the first time I bent over.
I remember learning that there were men in the world
who wanted to teach me about the men in the world,
and how the faint strong smell of bleach
tinted my sheets last week after I washed the colors
with the whites and left them on the line to dry
bleeding happily all together.
I don’t remember learning I would die,
but it must have been like stepping casually
into a freshly laundered dream,
like stepping into a white tulip skirt
trimmed round the hem
with crimson quatrefoils and tears.
I wonder if I cried,
and when the flowers will start to bleed.
by Cheryl Hicks
from Autumn Sky Poetry Number 8, December 2007
Photo by Christine Klocek-Lim