Brief dream of the woman poet on the 59th TrumpDay

by Melinda Smith

breathe out
(you have permission)

what are you wearing?

you are wearing a suit
stiff as a wet-dream bed sheet
impenetrable as armour
(though it is made of pretend)
you are wearing
the confidence
of a mediocre straight white man

try it outstomp your full weight
into the earth as you walk
swing your arms
realise you have been striding head-back for five minutes
and not a single person has asked to see your tits

steady on, though:
remind yourself
it is not necessary to grab
anything at all
unless it is freely offered
it is not necessary to police anyone else’s clothing
or reproductive system
it may be necessary to carry a whistle at all times
when you feel you may be about to rape someone,
blow it loudly until the authorities arrive

inside the suit you feel free
(perhaps you are going commando)
feel free to spread
feel free to ‘splain

own your mantitlement
work it
rock it

write about it
at length
watch it get published

of course you are going to wake up
(tell her she’s dreaming)

it will wrench you,
the slink back
to your old apologetic corner
where you are merely one among a number of fine woman poets
who are not Emily Dickinson and who are therefore nameless;
where All. The. Messes. are your unpaid job
and there is a permanent thank-you-drought
a respect-famine
and just enough light
to objectify you

but we all have to start from where we are
when we are woken
link arms
with your sisters
all of you
jam your pages into your lap

they are coming
look them in the eye
as they close in, arms swinging
let them come
let them
grab you by the poetry
let the poetry
grab back

Composed for the launch of Not Very Quiet – 20 March 2017

© Melinda Smith 2017