Friday, April 13, 2018

A poem because I can't tell you the title of my new book yet, but it's done.


It's National Poetry Month.
I never share my poems.
But I'm sharing this one because winter finally left and I had to talk to my daughters today about the rules of shorts. Who knew shorts had rules?


Handbook  (2018)


Here are my thighs.
I’m so sorry I didn’t
check the length
of my shorts,
fingertips are deceiving
and my arms are long
and it’s 85 degrees
and I was hot.
Just slice them off
right down to the femur
nothing in the handbook
about showing bone, is there?
Nothing sexy about bone.
Nothing silky smooth
nothing tanned
nothing toned.

Here are my breasts.

They are on the front
of my body and there
is nothing I can do
about you seeing them.
I’m so sorry.
I’ve covered them
in four layers of
padded polyester.
Makes them look
bigger than they
really are but at least
my nipples aren’t showing.
The handbook
doesn’t say anything
about nipples
directly
but everybody knows 
they are off limits
because they point and jeer
and laugh at you.
No wonder your college
entrance numbers are low.
You are bullied by nipples.

Here are my shoulders.
The worst offenders.
They allow me to do things
with my arms and hands
and when I do things
I sometimes do them
better than you.
And that’s just distracting.
I’m so sorry.
But without them
I couldn’t wear this bra.

Here is my grating voice
my gnawing questions.

Here is my name.
You have trouble
pronouncing it and when you
say it right you want
applause as if you
had to invent something new.
I’m so sorry I wasn’t
born a Smith so this
would be easier.
Here is my daughter.
She is ten years old.
She wished you a
Happy International Women’s Day
and you said
When is International
Men’s
Day?
I’m so sorry.
She doesn’t listen to reason.
She has ideas of her own
and I didn’t raise her to
challenge you
directly
 but to challenge
anyone who tells her
she should cover up
her intellect.

Here is my handbook.

Wear what makes you comfortable
to learn. Wear what
makes you comfortable to
breathe, to live,
to play the saxophone.

Distracting? You wouldn’t know
distracting if it cat-called you
from the staff parking lot.

Distracting? You wouldn’t know
distracting if it grabbed your ass
after algebra class.

Distracting? You wouldn’t know
distracting if it raped you
at the homecoming dance.

Distracting?
I’m so sorry.

I am sending you a package.
Inside are my muscles
sinew that has sinned you.
I am sending you
breasts like fried eggs, sliced
from the place you used to
like to watch them bounce.
I am sending you my shoulders
so I do nothing to make you
embarrassed for me.

Eat them all with a knife and fork.

Put your napkin on your lap
sit up straight.
No elbows on the table.
Manners, please.
I’m so sorry, but if you
don’t abide by these rules
your mother will have to come
pick you up at the office.



A.S. King 2018

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