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Poem in the Form of Folding Contour Sheets

It has always impressed you, my ability
to fold contour sheets into neat little bundles.
You can thank my mother; she taught me well.

You can thank my mother; she taught me well
to fold my limbs into ladylike bundles,
tucking wrist into wrist, ankle into ankle
like the corners of contour sheets.
She taught me loose legs are for men.

My mother taught me loose legs are for men,
not women, but I didn’t listen. So quick
are my limbs to come all untucked.
I shocked her when I came back
from college asking to see a gynecologist.
Isn’t it a woman’s job, to press out her creases?

It’s a woman’s job to press out the creases
in her man, my mother said. I didn’t listen.
She wants women to rule the world: They know
how to tuck it down
to obedient little bundles.
Does it impress you, how I shake
all the rules and the neatness out
from all the corners? You can thank my mother.

You can thank my mother: she kept me alive.
She thought she taught me to survive
a world of tidy corners, skins fitted to minds
in standard sizes only. She ironed into me

creases I can’t press out. But when I fold
my contours into neat little corners,
always, I come all untucked.