"Flower Back" Copyright 2001 Rain Jordan
The Alphabet in Feminine
I am teaching you the alphabet, the words for the letters
we have perfected for centuries. A is for Adam.
He is first, of course. God or some man
B is complicated. Look at little b.
See how swollen it looks? How awkward?
B is the body of a woman, your mother,
nine months pregnant.
C is the third letter. It is that important.
'C'areful. It is shaped like a horseshoe
to be draped over the shoulders for good luck.
Wrap yourself in it, my daughter.
It is the first letter you will need.
D is for danger. Remember the man
in the picture on the refrigerator, his dark eye
boring holes through us
each time we went for the milk carton. The picture
the police woman brought, the word "Careful"
falling from her lips like a tiny suicide.
E is for equal. Oh my girl,
the algebra of it all. The equations
complicating even themselves
with infinite possibilities.
Fear, of course, begins with f.
This is the letter women know. They go to sleep with it
hooked over the edges of their pillows
like a cane with extra points
to beat away the nightmares;
or a broken umbrella, closed,
that keeps us shut inside our houses.
It is f that we end with. F for final.
F for fulminate.
What other letters could I teach you?
Jean Meriam copyright 2001
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