The Gynecologist's Daughters

Every few months busting in at the roof, an amiable storm
of pubescence. From the Greek horman:
to stir up. One girl cries like pain from the bathroom
the very morning sudden rude buds of breast
mound from bones she liked. "Didn't you say
this means I won't get any taller?
I hate it. I wanted to be five five."
Another floated nude through the upstairs hall
to flounce across the big mother bed for inspection
of a lone pubic hair she was going to yank,
then remembered maybe it should be there.
Tampons are discussed next to the toast.
What, will there be no more mysteries?
These daughters know where to turn
with their new bleeding, no fantasy of wounds
hampers them. One by one they are taken out
to celebrate: cold shrimp curling over glass,
parsley on every plate, warm sideways sips of wine,
a mother taste they'd like to learn to like,
"becoming a woman." Mother and daughter
conspire in smiles to order dessert at lunch,
for this festival of blood. It's hard to imagine now:
but later, the fight to be less and less in love.

1997 Jessica Manke


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