There was never a time when I was not she,
the long hair, tangled, the breasts (unimpressive,
akin to the flat russet stones I’d sought as a child
on the riverbank), the territory, hidden and strange,
some slick pink undersea thing, which the boys
admonished, said shave, shave, and I did.
I was never not she, never not one who did not
want hands, his, like the great green wings
of the luna moth, opening and closing, once more
smearing dust onto the skin of my waist; never not
one who did not, with her own mouth, ask for his.
I did not enter the world with a painted face,
I did not enter it with rouge rubbed onto either cheek.
Instead I slipped from the womb bearing precious salts
as my gifts to give, only to relinquish them to modesty.
I was never not she: foolish girl, foolish woman, scorned
and loved, a treasure, a burden; but then, suddenly
Saturn turned. The constellation points that ran down
the length of limbs and legs wavered, whole galaxies
mislaid. She? — me! — me, a foolish beast brimming
with lost bounty. Me, eyes dry and belly taut, barren,
biding time on the edge of a breast, a body, a blizzard.