Resisting Female Contingency
     Joanna Omestad

after Adrienne Rich

Everything wanted and hated is called she
earth, ocean, ship, vessel          all she can be 
is a vessel
for children for men for problems for the world 

Calendars etched on ancient bones 
counted 28 days
in a month because only women are 
betrothed         to their own blood

Relying for too long on gaslit heat that 
wilts canopies of leaves and boils 
oceans of saltwater,                     it scorches 
instead of warms, shatters 
                  instead of welds, welts instead of welds

The glass we have to learn how to walk on—
bottling feelings that                   leave with the tide 
and wash up on other continents,        shrapnel 
from internal battles that can never be won

I’m so heavy in this body in this cloud 
of smoke
so heavy in the light
I am like a moth to you, a bad butterfly
with tattered wings that no longer levitate
                
                                                                I bleed bleach 
and my pores
leak silicone but not of my own design 
and I am
an instrument in the shape of a woman
slowly bending into my own form
and I am tired of marble being           heavier 
than wood, when wood 
                                               can ignite flame

 

Joanna Omestad is a senior undergraduate at the University of Maryland from Bethesda, Maryland. She is obtaining a B.A. in psychology, a certificate in women’s studies, and a creative writing minor.