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Poetry

From Radiance Summer 1998

Curves

His eyes sweep over
Me,
Slowing
At the curves
That hold
Me.
My structure of pears
and crescent moons,
Of hips,
And shoulders,
And calves,
Hums a sweet chord
And I am full and round.

 

RACHEL BRACK is a writer and artist living in New York City. She has been a business reporter, freelance writer, children’s book writer and illustrator, and poet. Brack currently works at Barnard College and in her painting studio. Her work last appeared at Atlantic Gallery.

 

My Knees

—are clowns.
Shambling,
accident-prone,
bumping into things
and each other.

.—are seasonal.
Bulb-like,
hesitant,
they inch their way out of winter,
ripen slowly
in the sun.

—are good sports.
Squash them flat
to scrub a floor,
they give a shrug
and grin.

—are best friends.
Side by side,
they kiss.

 

SUSAN RICHARDSON has lived, studied, and worked in the United States, Canada, and Australia. She is currently based in the United Kingdom, where she runs drama and writing therapy workshops for women with eating disorders and body image concerns.

 

Breasts Hanging Free

At the end of day
releasing hooks and eyes,
cloth and elastic
restraints, we let
our breasts hang free,
to swing to our strides
under the thin cloth
of our nightgowns. Figs,
grapefruits, melons—
firm summer fruits
pulled, when ripe,
closer to earth.

 

DONNA J. WAIDTLOW recently received her M.F.A. in creative writing from Goddard College. She received the 1997 Chapbook Award from Floating Bridge Press for her collection, A Woman Named Wife. She is currently an editor for the Internet poetry journal Switched-on Gutenberg. She has had poetry published in Alaska Quarterly Review, Anima, Bellowing Art, Chrysanthemum, Chaminade Literary Review, Cicada, Fireweed, Frogpond, Modern Haiku, NCASA, Nomad, Perceptions, TAPJoE, Thirteen Poetry Magazine, Hopscotch, and others.

 

Give Them This

Look, I’ve told you before about hips,
about the early goddess statues
that celebrate curves and rounding flesh:
prosperity, fertility, lust.

Ah Lust—

Give them something to run their hands
down, I say. Give them a pawful, a palmful,
something to wrap their fingers around.

Give them melon flesh and musk scent.
Give them skin soft as watercolor
and feet like the petals of magnolia.

Give them river-hands and tumulus of belly
so the hand slides without a hitch of bone.
It’s not rib and hip joint they want to stroke,

not reef or rockbound coast.
They want ocean.
They want land that yields.

They want to feel
they’ve gotten hold of something:
give them mountains.

Let them climb hand over hand
across the foothills
from base camp to base camp.

Let them reach the top, the apex,
the acme of the world, and without rest
start down the other side.

Keep them traveling the continents.
Let them taste the inlets, the outcrops.
Let them tongue salt and cinnamon.

Let them lap it, and lip it,
and enter, and divide, and explode,
and submit:

and now,
and now if we are willing,
let them rest.

 

CB FOLLETT has a new poetry book out: Visible Bones (Plain View Press, 1998), her first full-length collection. She had a good run at the Poetry Society of America awards in 1997, coming up as finalist in one contest and runner-up in another. She is currently editing an anthology of poems about bears.

 

Psalm for the Body

This is the time of clarity.
This hour. This day.
This is the time when the body
is not despised.
This hour. This day
is the day of blunted fingers,
the day of pliable white flesh
that rolls over the thighs,
the day of bones and the fat
knees which are beautiful
and not to be despised.
This is the time of honesty.

This is the time of leaning
into the solid broad arms of another.
This hour. This day
is the day of slender fingers,
the day of brown flesh
that slopes to the point of the thighs’
meeting, the day of muscles and strong
hips which are invulnerable.

This is the time of waking.
This hour. This day
is the day of the bodies that are
utterly reclaimed.

 

SARAH BLOOM, originally from Arkansas, is director of an English-as-a-second-language program in Washington, D.C. She is currently working on a novel.

 

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