n. weariness with the same old issues . . . nothing left to do but spit them out and wander off to the backyard, ready to dig up some fresher pain you might have buried. . . .
—Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows
It’s an old movie—not a film:
There is, of course, one woman on the spaceship.
Two might speak of something other than the men.
Many things glitter and shine, but in gradients of black and white.
Scientists argue.
             She may or may not be a scientist—of course
             we’ll never know
             because her sense of Something Wrong
             isn’t shared by the men in Science Coats
             concerned with argument,
             and, perhaps, her legs.
Two are Asian and wear black thick-rimmed glasses.
One is bald, speaks with a Russian accent.
One has a greying beard, wire glasses.
One is blonde, looks like a surfer. He’s in charge.
He’s loudest.
The woman has been in the pool or on the planet’s beach—
her bathing suit is lab-coat white.
The only plant in the room lives behind glass and may be growing teeth.
Its leaves may be ears. It shrinks from the glass
when one of the scientists lights a cigarette near it.
Its leaves drift toward the woman as she crosses the room.
We know the woman’s innocent because of her white bathing suit.
The science men look away from her as she passes.
None notices the leaves growing from her back.
The plant inside the glass flowers.
Perhaps now, we’d know
if the colors of the flowers match her skin.
Perhaps now another woman—on the ship to cook and tidy up,
though trained to pilot any ship that flies—
sees the leaves. Perhaps the women
speak of how the science men
won’t see. Perhaps if they could talk about the plant
instead of only the science men
all the humans might survive.
Mary Muses on Pink Ribbons
The house blocks autumn-slant sun—
only a strip of light
slices through to gild leaves, a sapling, the struggling hedge
rose-bronze or some honeyed shade of pink wine.
Soon, it fades.
What light there is in autumn knows its duty—
be voluptuary, drunken, rich—
because days shorten, then shorten more, then
dark. Thus, the gilded or pinked light
stays brief and low-to-blinding half the day.
Not itself a color, pink. The watering-down of
crimson, itself the color of fresh-drawn arterial blood—
a tint—so signifying strength—that arterial wash and feeding.
Too strong for girls, they said, therefore worn by boys
in some “used-to” people argue over.
That’s what the light is doing: ribboning across the yard,
slippery and meant for bows.
Now they’ve given it to women,
but only those whose breasts go deadly.
The bows have their own story: barfing, bald, and tragic,
warriors against their own bodies’ betrayals.
You cannot lose a breast.
It must be cut,
like light cuts in between trees in autumn,
beautiful, then gone.