A lovely poem by Susan Rich on Poetry Daily today, for her new book Cures Include Travel. "The Women of Kismayo" tells of women's power, even in parts of the world where they have been oppressed by the culture for centuries. The final image of the breasts, almost like a double-barreled gun, "targeting" each man, is stunning.
The Women of Kismayo
The breasts of Kismayo assembled
along the mid-day market street.
No airbrushed mangoes, no
black lace, no underwire chemise.
No half-cupped pleasures,
no come-hither nods, no Italian
centerfolds. Simply the women
of the town telling their men
to take action, to do something
equally bold. And the husbands
on their way home, expecting
sweet yams and meat,
moaned and covered their eyes,
screamed like spoiled children
dredged abruptly from sleep—
incredulous that their women
could unbutton such beauty
for other clans, who
(in between splayed
hands) watched quite willingly.
Give us your guns, here is our
cutlery, we are the men!
the women sang to them
an articulation without shame.
And now in the late night hour
when men want nothing but rest,
they fold their broken bodies, still
watched by their wives cool breasts
round, full, commanding as colonels—
two taut nipples targeting each man.
Cures Include Travel
White Pine Press