There are women’s ways: The talking, Words like pennies slipped out of tooth-gaps. the Shush of fingernail filing, rounding the claws to docile half-moons. The guile of the used womb; a sly password, a niggling allowance. The houses of hungry closets, doors open like children’s arms, each filled like love was for sale, looking for a hanger to hug. While tummies are flat, clothes are belted to introduce ribcages. Hair long enough to catch a baby’s fist will feel that tug until it shrinks to earlobe-length, dry as broomstraw. Closets starve and nails go mute; belt holes gape at the belly’s demands. But words still climb the throat pendulums and swing, swing, monkeys traipsing off arid lips.
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Danielle Burhop is an IAS undergraduate student at University of Washington, Bothell, and is an NSCC alumnus. She has been published previously in Exile and Twice-Bloomed Wistaria. She can be found traipsing around The Loft with bewildered ESL tutees, and posting snarky tidbits at www.everypoet.org.