66

5:18 p.m., on the 66 bus headed East
and everyone is cramped, close, avoiding
contact, craving space. There is a woman.

She is large, her voice, the way she flaps
her hands when she talks as if her palms
are wild birds sure of flight, her body

huge, wedged over two seats and swathed
in bundles of black fur. The woman talks
as if we are all listening, and we can’t help it,

we are, we’re listening to her talk about salad,
how she eats it every day, could eat it for
breakfast lunch and dinner and the more

polite of us doubt, the more audacious
of us snigger openly, for how could this mountain
of a woman eat salad every day, as she says,

eat it every day and not crumble to dust,
not lose her great weight and become
mountain’s shadow, half the woman she is now,

a fleshy resemblance to the greens she so
loves; wilted celery leaf, limp romaine.
I stare down at my own hands

folded like sleeping doves in my lap.
I am envious of the woman, envious of
her weighted body in all its surety;

her body, the lasting memory of first kiss,
first embrace, first grief, the limitless expanse
of all three, the source of joy and sex and sorrow.

Her body, a fierce politic. One day, maybe soon,
she will take a step and shake all of us, wake us
from our lurid dreams of Lululemon and scales

and grapefruit and salad. We will be like newborns,
mouths twisted open in fear or in awe, crying for her,
crying for a woman, a woman’s body without boundaries.

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