clench clench clench clench clench clench clench the doctor says I have to stop holding my vagina like a fist. I tell him I am a young woman. I don’t have a fists. just accessories. I am just pursing: purse, verb, very, ladylike. e.g: my vagina is pursing like a grandmother’s lips. stehstehstehstehstehstehsteh - that's the sound of a tongue sticking-unsticking from the roof of a happy mouth. that's satisfaction after a cup of sweettea that was not a want, but a need. of course, I am not satisfied. my soft animal and I have not had a good drink in months. we are parched. I just moved to this cut-stone city. I am hardly ever recognized. I am hardly ever a guest. no one has had the opportunity to offer us: a hand, a seat, a photo album, or a glass of something with or without ice. the doctor says clenching usually follows at trauma’s heels. did I know/ I was both / the two god-hands and the babydoll being / squeezed to its seams? no
nothing ripped. but the jaw does unlock itself and pendulum from time to time. I ask the orthodontist why my mouth keeps unraveling and hitting the floor like a cat-cartoon in love. well, because I am, yes, clenching. ing ing ing ing ing he puts one finger in my mouth, squeaking and blue, tells me to bite. my jaw is quite strong and this is not a compliment. the pink doctor throws in a finger too. he notes that me and Mine are not very hospitable. no “come in”, no “can I take your coat”, he asks who raised me? I beg him not to tell my grandmother! He asks for my history. I hand him his history. claim whoever bled on the other side of his pink hands. okay. well. Mine is too tight and have I heard of vaginal physical therapy? it's a little uncomfortable lots of single, plastic fingers, and deep breaths, we can call it: a last resort
I put on my underwear. I rinse out my mouth. I pay my deductible. I leave the building and stay in the lot. in my car, I imagine myself as an open palm. see each finger of my body undo and soften until I am as exposed as a peonie at the top of May. I imagine my therapist or the youtube yoga instructor in the passenger. next to me. taking my bloomed palms and placing one on my heart, one on my stomach, reminding me how to breathe so that my belly stretches into a bowl. I do this until I am calm enough to be bored with the way boys have wound and hardened me. I Type. Tweet. “doctor said my pussy too tight! And my jaw?? very powerful!”
Dylan Gilbert is a poet from Ann Arbor, MI. She received her bachelor’s degree from University of Michigan and currently resides in Harlem where she is working towards her MFA at Columbia University. Her work has received multiple Hopwood Awards and appeared in several college literary journals as well as UCL’s Panacea Review.
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