Anorexia looks extreme: the weight loss, restriction and rituals. But it doesn’t begin that way. It creeps up on you and hoodwinks you into allegiance to a dangerous ally. That’s my experience anyway. How are we influenced? And why?
This poem looks at two vastly different experiences. I’ve lived the experience through my cultural lens and watch my daughters struggle with their perceptions of their bodies. During my travels, I’ve come across women with far less wealth but a powerful sense of self.
Learning to be Women
What if they knew what we knew?
Girls watch, apprentice women sift the chaff of their mother’s jaded realities
The rules of inclusion remain elusive
Ideas candied by Photoshop
Shot into cyberspace through the soft touch of an icon
The instigators remain invisible
Androgynous beings with popcorn heads of ideas
Fantasy, utopia, reality, grunge
It doesn’t matter to them
Anonymity guaranteed by a grey coat and a reusable coffee mug
And women feed hungrily on the latest creations of the marketing geniuses
Released, the ideal is consumed
On dirty metro lines and French provincial bedrooms
Reality’s chameleon invites
Children to trace their mothers’ unblinking eyes
Ablaze with solutions for now
Girls learn the grail exists and how to search of the way to become modern women
What if we knew what they knew?
Goats munch scant leaves on broken branches
Rain unseen for many years
Global warming bites hard, plants wither
Forgetting they can thrive
Women sit together through the hottest part of the day
Eyes blinking at the mirage and the promise of water
Engaging with the silver long enough drives you mad
Little boys sleep curled on their sides like bananas
Babes suckle on flattened breasts
Stretched nipples offer sustenance and solace
The women are among who they are and what they know
Flies and wind and river sand in all orifices
A larger hand shores them in a world that reeks God’s neglect
Company buoys them, food for the soul as important as a bowl of rice
A page of a discarded magazine flutters past
No one seeks its guidance
Their children also watch and learn how to become women.
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