Formal Verse, Humor Poem, Memoir Poem, Poetry

Fruiting Body

Apple, pear, banana, orange, I
Used to be, profoundly, a pear—all
Ass and belly. My thighs were righteous
Too. Not that my boobs were small, per se,
Just smaller than the juicy bottom.

But I lost the weight—all the weight—and
More—and became ingloriously
An un-curved banana. I didn’t even
Know women could be bananas. That
Wasn’t ever on my lifelong, plus-
Sized, orange shaped radar. But there an
Inglorious banana was I
Standing at the mirror, bemoaning
My, let’s call them, “sugar spots.” My poor,
Pear peel, made for curves, never quite fit
The banana right, and was far too
Thin skinned for the picking. Picking and
Picking. Constantly picking. My best

Friend said that, skinny as I was, I
Resembled more an apple on a
Toothpick, (you see I have this giant
Melon head). She’s not that sour. I asked
Her in advance to tell me when my
Apple—melon—toothpick—weirdly-un-
healthy-looking-fresh-fruit-hors-d’oeuvre
Situation got out of hand. I

Rejected the banana. Or I
Should say the part of me that wakes up
At 1:30 every morning and
Eats guilty lemon Oreos in
The come-hither glow of an open
Refrigerator rejects the damn
Banana. The part of me that thinks—

The part that guilts innocent lemon
Oreos—dug her heels in, clung tight
To the un-curviness of it all,
The good clothes, the Big Why, fitting
My flat ass into tight spaces for
once, and managed to think, pick, fret, pick,
constantly picking—pick its way to
Gaining back a third of what I lost.

I did not become a pear again.
I became a fatter banana.

Peace unto the fatter banana.
My melon head is, again, to scale.
Let lemon Oreos be pardoned.
Let me slip comfortably into my
New, thicker peel. Let me savor all
My sugar spots. Let me go un-picked.

-M.

Memoir, Prose

How Do My Breasts Look? (memoir)

go_cougar_womens_tshirtMy first boyfriend and I sweat together in my room with the door closed and his hand under my navy blue “Go Cougars!” T-shirt. I lay on the floor halfway underneath him, one of his creeping hands at the waistband of my white cotton shorts, the other pushing my shirt up. His alien fingers probed their way under the pale pink of my little girls’ bra that had been too tight for months. He didn’t kiss me. He gave me a hickey on my midriff instead and smiled, proud of himself the way he and his friends were often proud of their own farts. He got serious then and tugged at the band of my bra. I lay there bare-chested for the first time with a boy, still wearing my T-shirt that was now rolled up under my chin. He unceremoniously pinched my left nipple, then my right, frowned and announced, “Your boobs look funny.”

I don’t need a whole essay to tell you I never got over that.

In my later teens I’d stand sometimes in front of my mother’s full-length bedroom mirror and pull my Garfield pajama shirt tight over my chest and belly to get a better view of the curve of my breasts in relation to my other curves. I’d shift right and left—diagonal—I’d bounce, look back over one shoulder, turn around with one arm up behind my head, but I couldn’t tell. I’d pull my shirt up and wonder for a while at my nipples. I couldn’t figure them out either. Too big? Too small? Too low? Too pale? I didn’t know.

I once used a French class report on impressionist artists as an excuse to look at a lot of paintings of naked women so I wouldn’t look like a perv for getting close to the page, squinting at them, and comparing. One red-haired woman, all in fading yellow light, a royal blue wrap around her shoulders and her white underthings visible at her waist, appeared to have breasts that went at near right angles at the bottom—her tan nipples pointing this way and that. I thought surely mine weren’t quite as different as that, and even then, some artist found hers beautiful.

When I got older, I got brave once and asked a lover what he thought of the funny-looking breast issue. I should have known I wouldn’t get a straight answer considering his face was between them at the time.

But maybe that’s my problem—thinking “No!” kiss, “Not at all!” nibble, “Absolutely not!” muffled through busy lips—was not a straight answer.

-M.