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There aren’t too many great poems about uteruses out there.  At least, if there are, I can’t find many of them.  In Celebration of My Uterus, by Anne Sexton is truly great poem, and the first line,”Everyone in me is a bird” is pretty gorgeous.  Once, when I left that poem in my teacher folder at work and some of my male students were unnerved. They were so embarrassed by the word “uterus” that I had to teach them the poem, even though I had just copied it for a baby shower.  Very few words have that kind of power, except all the words for girl parts.

I’m thinking about these words tonight, in part because for the last few days I’ve been rushed, and maybe playing it a little bit safe with the poems.  Each is honest, but maybe  the last few have also been an escape from some uncomfortable stuff.  My students call them “feels”, and lately I’ve been feeling like I got kneed in the feels.   And rather than put that on the page to share with you, I’ve been a chickenshit and written about water and Bison.  That is not to say that I dislike those poems, there’s something to ’em, I think, but if the inspiration for those came in part from me avoiding the tough stuff, well, that’s gotta stop. 

Robert Frost said (or so the internet says, can’t find where he said it) that “poetry is when an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words.”  I always thought that a thought without words was an emotion, like “love” was the thought of the feeling, but I think I like what Frost implies here.  That means that even the crappy poem about my recent hysterectomy that I started, the one I feel is too glib and chipper to be honest, might be okay as long as I’ve actually felt it.

Okay, so, I’m going to write about my uterus now, there’s just no stopping me.

In Praise of My Uterus (or Hysteria)

None of the words for the my parts belong to me. I mean really.

Uterus. Uterus.  Uterus. 

The word’s botanical, like cacti: Behold the mighty prickly uterus, inured to desolate landscape. 

If I had named these pieces myself, approximately two weeks into my twenty-eight day pirouette,

the Angel Timers would be released from the Love Sprockets,

journey own the Chutes of

                                        Inspiration                   and                                Intuition

to arrive at the Love Bucket, where they would either marinate for a spell of nine or ten months,

or continue out the Velvet Underground,

and thus works the astonishing engine of “Ohh Baby”.

(These are the basics, but any good health class would be sure to provide a clear diagram as to the whereabouts of the Everlasting Button of Fuck-Yeah).  

“hyster” from the latin for “crazy bitch”, and “ectomy” medicine for “to chop”?

“Morsellate” was the word the surgeon used, but the only frightening thing,

was this: I know my creativity lives in my womb, and I know that it lives there because when I knit these words together this is where I feel them. 

And where does that go when the pulsing organ is lasered away?

Smart Sensible knows that menopause is another one of the squirm words,

another beautiful biological fear tactic. (My father likes to joke that his mother went into menopause and never came out. I hate that joke). 

Watch out! My womb’s floated up to my mouth again,

that capricious organ, that migrant mystery, who knows what it’ll say next.

Boys, leave the room, because we’re gonna talk about something so gruesome, so hideous, so filthy, that we spill it every day, on all the streets of the world.

It’s true, though, that blood is less scary when nothing is known, just like in the 1600s, when no one knew what it was made out of, and if you got some on you during a midday showing of Titus Andronicus, you just brushed it off and went about your day.

Call and response makes the most sense,

I say Uterus, you say

I say Uterus, you say

I say Uterus, you say

Hysterical? You aint seen nothing yet.  I will stand next to my male colleagues and say vagina.

My daughters will know the names of their parts, and will rename them as they choose.

But it is time

It is time

It is time

Let the exultation begin,

when you lay down and cover yourself in bed each night

don’t lets pretend you aren’t trying to get right back where you came out

and when you float in the warm sea,

and the body licks the soul,

don’t lets pretend you don’t feel like stretching your legs out to kick the Universe walls.

When the strength for finishing disappears

you’ll find it in there whether the organ lives or not,

because every contraction is a million years wise, and every stroke of the Holy Engine of Wow

is

another

waltz.

**************************************

Finished. Whew.  Should I include a picture of a Uterus? I think so.

Okay, that’s a grapefruit.  But, I didn’t like any of the diagrams from google images.  Happy Monday, my poem people!

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