Academic journal article Women's Studies Quarterly

Four Hundred Tons or Twenty-Five Thousand Dollars a Day

Academic journal article Women's Studies Quarterly

Four Hundred Tons or Twenty-Five Thousand Dollars a Day

Article excerpt

My sister is the one who told me

about the woods behind our childhood home,

the peach trees, lilac bushes and wild rhubarb

the old barn foundation where we played hopscotch,

the willow tree bullrope we used to swing on just so

I could feel my menstrual pad rub against the knot,

the treehouse to smoke cigarettes and play strip poker,

the place where I wasn't anybody's daughter or virgin.

I wasn't surprised by what she said

having grown up in an industrial river town

where more members of my family worked themselves black

in the steel mill or glass plant or salt works than didn't

so the smokestack was our church steeple,

the haze rising in the sky our ascending angel.

She told me since they bulldozed the woods I'd be able to see

clear to the river if I could look out our old kitchen window,

a naked river now once clothed in emerald green.

I shiver for it and I shiver for myself, for all the times

I was exposed in those woods, for the first time I was

wed in nakedness. …

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