Poem in the Form of Folding Contour Sheets

by Sari Krosinsky

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.

Beholder Magazine 2020