after Anne Carson’s “The Gender of Sound”
Always evenings, naked, unafraid, glass pitcher on my shoulder, goat’s head severed under foot, a fist—amputated—resting, aback my neck. The crowd behind me like a crowd behind me always behind me, jeering, whispering, fielding all I say, even the sound of my voice. Escape me I escape you: words tattooed across my body: left breast; right, my belly—a mouth: open, painted in blood: menstrual or goat--does it matter? If I crouch, let whatever wants to run from me run; if I contort, head, arms, shoulders between my legs, throw myself—acrobatic—from the highest board or cliff, will the apology be enough?
My incantation is clean. Enough the usurper, the thief. We banked the tampons, the extra-strong deodorant. We drank the perfume. We covered our hair with cotton cloth. There was no more space. Just the dark bush before me growing darker, disappearing. A symphony of cicadas to mark the way. Join me. No eye teeth, no rusted knob. No more champagne. Pear-assed and perfect, I am your wet dream, my voice stolen; my violence intact.
Poet and essayist, Rachel Neve-Midbar’s collection Salaam of Birds won the 2018 Patricia Bibby First Book Award and was published by Tebot Bach in 2020. She is also the author of the chapbook, What the Light Reveals (Tebot Bach, 2014, winner of The Clockwork Prize). Rachel’s work has appeared in Blackbird, Prairie Schooner, Grist and Georgia Reviewas well as other publications and anthologies. Her awards include the Crab Orchard Review Richard Peterson Prize, the Passenger Poetry Prize and nominations for The Pushcart Prize. Rachel is a current PhD candidate at The University of Southern California where her research concerns menstruation in contemporary poetry. She is also editor of Stained: an anthology of writing about menstruation for the AuntFlo2020 Project. More at rachelnevemidbar.com
The Ekphrastic Review
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