Monday, October 26, 2015

Is gravity a scary halloween costume?

Breasts: A Couplet

Breasts in a young granddaughter
just now starting to girl up her mother reports.

I don't mention that on our side of the family, the girls
start to grandma down in our twenties—

genetics predisposed to early-onset gravity.
Instead, I remember three best friends from fifth grade

who met at the corner grocery store after school
to eat up the candy of adolescence.

Taken over by our bodies' and our parents' commands,
the three of us formed a kind of paramilitary unit.

We stood in line, comparing equipment
and then made up rules and names.

Leslie, for obvious reasons,
called hers Flopsy and Mopsy.

Irene, with a perfectly matched set,
settled on Salt and Pepper.

Two cup sizes younger and just starting to sprout,
I picked Rosebud and Petunia Bud.

Whenever any one of the three of us announced, Roll Call,
no matter where we stood—classroom, berry patch,

crossing the street, in the aisles of Boots Grocery—
we had to hoist our gear and present loud and clear.

Not that subterfuge wasn't allowed.
We could cross our arms or not.

Lift with the open palm
or the back of the hand,

but no fair whispering so someone standing
six feet away couldn't hear.

And like all roll calls, we had to take turns,
no announcing all at once.




1955, 1956, 1957, we played our game,
with 1958 ending the parade.

By ninth grade, it was clear there were
just two classes of girls:

The As to Bs and the Cs to Ds.
Among the latter, we could see we were facing

a lifetime of confinement in that
old French prison, the brassière.

by Sharon Wood Wortman
in volume 4 issue 1

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