Woman

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Everyone is female at first

Nipples?
What are those for?
Humans all begin
In our little pods
Our warm, nutritious pods
Female

But that's no good, is it?
We need a reactionary
Perhaps males came about for convenience
There aren't nearly enough of us
To grunt with in this cave

Minutes after birth, millions of years later
Wrapped from chin to toes
It's uncomfortable
To breathe on your own
You are the initiator, they react to you
Suspended, held in sweaty arms
It's snowing outside
It was so much nicer in the pod

Go home, grow up a little
Explore on curious limbs
Giggle and puke and *** because
They can't tell you not to yet
You like faces, you love to watch them
Beginning to mirror—they like that, you know

Five years old
Your best friend shares her cheese sticks
This is the basis for your friendship
Nobody seems to care about your ideas
Neither do you, particularly
You just want to plaster macaroni to your face
And talk like the third graders
Don't worry—you, too, will look that cool in overalls

The big one-oh
Double digits are a very big deal
Four out of thirteen invited show up to the ice rink
Two out of four leave with strangers
And one out of two trips you, sends you
Sailing face-first to the choppy ice
Blood spreads quickly over the frozen ground
Mothers herd screaming children from the rink
And orange-vested employees rush the scene
They escort you to first-aid
Where you cry and you cry and
One out of one pats your scuffed knee and
Assures you that Jenna's a *** for leaving

High school can be surmised
With a blind turtle being ushered along
By giggling children
Into a box scattered with pins
And then flipped, the lid snapping shut above
The turtle is left to twitch in the Tupperware
For three years
Until it is flipped back on its side, lid sliding off
And it is told to get up, get out
It's time to start living your life

It's alright to skip right to Menopause
What could be more exciting than
Your body suddenly halting a function you'd become
Accustomed to for the last thirty years?
Certainly more exciting than the
Way your life's turned out so far
Flunking out of graduate school
Getting lost in a foreign country
Estranging yourself from your family
Or having your own daughter, who actually doesn't
Like you much at all

You could have been male
And maybe the lid of the Tupperware
Would have been loose enough to crawl out of
Your body left minimally pierced and your mind
Left marginally damaged
From all that recycled panic





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