What Are Women Made Of
There are many kinds of open.
We are all ventricle, spine, lung, larynx, and gut.
Clavicle and nape, what lies forked in an open palm;
we are follicle and temple. We are ankle, arch,
sole. Pore and rib, pelvis and root
and tongue. We are wishbone and gland and molar
and lobe. We are hippocampus and exposed nerve
and cornea. Areola, pigment, melanin, and nails.
Varicose. Cellulite. Divining rod. Sinew and tissue,
saliva and silt. We are blood and salt, clay and aquifer.
We are breath and flame and stratosphere. Palimpsest
and bibelot and cloisonné fine lines. Marigold, hydrangea,
and dimple. Nightlight, satellite, and stubble. We are
pinnacle, plummet, dark circles, and dark matter.
A constellation of freckles and specters and miracles
and lashes. Both bent and erect, we are all give
and give back. We are volta and girder. Make an incision
in our nectary and Painted Ladies sail forth, riding the back
of a warm wind, plumed with love and things like love.
Crack us down to the marrow, and you may find us full
of cicada husks and sand dollars and salted maple taffy
weary of welding together our daydreams. All sweet tea,
razor blades, carbon, and patchwork quilts of Good God!
and Lord have mercy! Our hands remember how to turn
the earth before we do. Our intestinal fortitude? Cumulonimbus
streaked with saffron light. Our foundation? Not in our limbs
or hips; this comes first as an amen, a hallelujah, a suckling,
swaddled psalm sung at the cosmos’s breast. You want to
know what women are made of? Open wide and find out.
by Bianca Lynne Spriggs
from Poetry, April 2018