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By Bianca Lynne Spriggs

There are many kinds of open.
— Audre Lorde

We are all ventricle, spine, lung, larynx, and gut.

Clavicle and nape, what lies forked in an open palm;


we are follicle and temple. We are ankle, arch,

sole. Pore and rib, pelvis and root


and tongue. We are wishbone and gland and molar

and lobe. We are hippocampus and exposed nerve


and cornea. Areola, pigment, melanin, and nails.

Varicose. Cellulite. Divining rod. Sinew and tissue,


saliva and silt. We are blood and salt, clay and aquifer.

We are breath and flame and stratosphere. Palimpsest


and bibelot and cloisonné fine lines. Marigold, hydrangea,

and dimple. Nightlight, satellite, and stubble. We are


pinnacle, plummet, dark circles, and dark matter.

A constellation of freckles and specters and miracles


and lashes. Both bent and erect, we are all give

and give back. We are volta and girder. Make an incision


in our nectary and Painted Ladies sail forth, riding the back

of a warm wind, plumed with love and things like love.


Crack us down to the marrow, and you may find us full

of cicada husks and sand dollars and salted maple taffy


weary of welding together our daydreams. All sweet tea,

razor blades, carbon, and patchwork quilts of Good God!


and Lord have mercy! Our hands remember how to turn

the earth before we do. Our intestinal fortitude? Cumulonimbus


streaked with saffron light. Our foundation? Not in our limbs

or hips; this comes first as an amen, a hallelujah, a suckling,


swaddled psalm sung at the cosmos’s breast. You want to

know what women are made of? Open wide and find out.


Notes:

The epigraph of this poem was originally omitted in the changeover to the new website. Because of this, reciting the epigraph is optional for the 2019-2020 Poetry Out Loud season.

Source: Poetry (April 2018)

  • Living
  • Nature

Poet Bio

Bianca Lynne Spriggs
Bianca Lynne Spriggs is the author of Call Her by Her Name (Northwestern University Press, 2016) and The Galaxy Is a Dance Floor (Argos Books, 2016). See More By This Poet

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