Response, Years Later, to Two Male Poets I Overheard Discussing How Sick They Were of Women’s Poems about the Body
I too am sick of the body.
I too am sick of being a body,
am sick of being sick about my body,
have made myself sick over how to care for
and clothe it, how to make it behave,
make it need less. Walking in the street,
I have wished it might dissolve
so that I might more clearly see where it ends
and where men’s opinions about it begin.
When I struggled to love it, I tried to feel
nothing instead, to see it as a casing
for what I knew to be beautiful and strong.
I am sick of feeling nothing instead of
beautiful and strong. Today, I watched
my yoga teacher become a scorpion
and I tried my best to become one too.
I have no idea what my body looked like
but I know my belly shook with the effort
and that sweat rolled down my back
in fat pearls and that when I emerged
into the damp city streets, I did not dissolve.
Ode to Butter
To its sweetness and salt, to its sunshine
in a stick, spreading in sheets of gold
over a cob of summer corn, a halved
blueberry muffin, to its chameleon nature,
crisping and softening and browning
and caramelizing everything it touches.
To the sound its waxed paper wrapper makes
when a knife is sliced through at the blue line.
Satisfying. To the friend who once answered,
Well, do you want it to be good? when I asked
if this much butter was enough and who watched
without judgment, with motherly approval
as I sliced in more and then more. To the way
it goes “straight to my thighs,” themselves butter-
like in their softness, their pleasingly elastic firmness,
the way they too spread, golden, are sweet
and salty. To the sound they make swishing together.
Satisfying. This permission I give myself.
Meghan Dunn is the author of Who Also Will Not Yield, a collaborative art and poetry chapbook, with artist Ben Pinder. She lives in Brooklyn, NY, where she teaches high school English. Her work has appeared in Ploughshares, Narrative, Poetry Northwest, Southern Humanities Review, and The Collagist, among others. She is a four-time recipient of scholarships from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference.