The conspiracy’s to make us thin. Size three’s
all the rage, and skirts ballooning above twinkling knees
are every man-child’s pre-adolescent dream.
Tabula rasa. No slate’s that clean—
we’ve earned the navels sunk in grief
when the last child emptied us of their brief
interior light. Our muscles say We have been used.
Have you ever tried silk sheets? I did,
persuaded by post-natal dread
and a Macy’s clerk to bargain for more zip.
We couldn’t hang on, slipped
to the floor and by morning the quilts
had slid off, too. Enough of guilt—
It’s hard work staying cool.
Rita Dove