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From Radiance Spring 2000

decision

so
one day I just decided
to be beautiful
and not by signing
on the plastic surgeon’s
dotted line
either
but by flying
in the face of convention
and embracing my inperfections
with the ferocity
of a mother’s love—
those floor-walking
spider veins
on the backs of my legs
the slight droop
of my derriere
the strands of gray
that highlight
my used-to-be-
chestnut hair
the hollow darkness
that gathered beneath my eyes
with the first cry in the night
deepened at the first broken curfew
and never receded—
not a classic beauty
even in my heyday
I’ve taken myself out
of the endgame
and
I’ve decided to be beautiful
because
I
am

 

CATHY DRINKWATER BETTER is an editor, a journalist, a poet, and the author of numerous books for children and adults, including two collections of poems, the moon tonight (Los Hombres Press, 1996) and the sky is all there is (Astute Platypus Press, 1999).

 


 

Magic

Twilight’s edge.
The grass shivers magic
through their plump toes.

On seeing these two fat women,
good friends,
some people snicker.

Having learned to ignore the remains
of a day
or the anger that can speed it,
the two fat women walk barefoot,
sandals in tow.

Their warm bodies bounce lightly
through New England spring,
a time as generous
as themselves.

They walk. 

FERN KANT was raised on the East Coast. Currently, she lives in New Jersey. She earned her M.A. in writing from Boston University. A fat activist poet, her work has been published in Feminist Voices, World of Poetry, Ma’ayan, and To the Point.

 


 

In Praise of Large Women

I love a large woman
with generous hips and size D cups
a female not afraid of dresses that cling
or shorts
tank tops that show
the upper arm jiggle
and pyramid thighs
connected to deep-dimple knees.
Not the timid trying to shrink
into a tent of anonymity
my affair is with a Juno who stands
in front of the mirror and enjoys her image
in patterns and colors big and bold.
She may corset and cosset
for special occasions—but in the bedroom
I imagine husband or lover
drowning in her pool of amplitude
nuzzling nipples and
covered by waves of loving flesh.

 

HELEN MAY PADWAY began her career as a radio and TV performer. A wife, mother, widow, grandmother, and perpetual student, her poetry has appeared in many literary journals, including California State Quarterly, Hot Dog, and Wisconsin Academy of Arts, Letters, and Science. Padway, who lives in Glendale, Wisconsin, also sits on the board of directors at Woodland Pattern, a nonprofit center to encourage literacy and help writers of all ages and backgrounds.


 

SELF-PORTRAIT II

Questing, a woman dares to reinvent herself.

      —Dana Heller, The Feminization of Quest Romance

No more teacher clothes.
I want chamois shirts
and shorts with pockets I’ll need
for a trek in the Himalayas.
I want a tutu and overalls for my
new career as a ballerina electrician,
a carpenter’s apron and power tools
so I can work on Habitat for Humanity
and build my writing studio.

No more timidity, no cringing.
I can say “no” with grace
and my opinion about anything.
I don’t need your approval
and I won’t shrivel when you yell
or weep. I have limits, you know.
I will learn to climb sheer rocks,
fly a helicopter, handle bees
and embrace every dragon I meet.

 

MONZA NAFF is a poet who lives in Oakland, California, where she also teaches Creative Writing and the Inner Life workshops. This poem is from her 1999 book, Healing the Womanheart (Wyatt-MacKenzie Publishing).

 


 

WHAT SHE WANTS

Inside
is the little girl
from not that long ago.

 

What does she want?
She wants what she always wanted:
to be taken seriously.

 

Outside there’s a woman round
as an over-ripe plum. People point,
their voices cruel, jesting.

 

What does she want?
What she’s always wanted:
to be taken seriously.

 

CB FOLLETT of Sausalito, California, is currently up to her hairline in things furry, as the latest anthology from Arctos Press that she has edited is GRRRRR, A Collection of Poems About BEARS. She has been honored with two additional Pushcart nominations and looks forward to carving out more time to work on her own poems.

 


Remember, this is only a taste of what's inside the
printed version of the magazine!

 

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