by Tracey D. Mahon Elliott

A woman should have,
okay, must have, several things--
a small square bar of soap
that smells like honey,
something silky and lovely
to sleep in on a special occasion
or a not special occasion
and preferably purple
with velvet trim, and
a place and time
of a somewhat regular schedule
in which she does something
for and with herself
for which she is never
called to account by anyone,
not even anyone inside of her.

What a woman will get
If she doesn't get this,
is a belly full of rage.

I know this to be true
because I have one myself
and it isn't pretty and it isn't nice
and I worry that the only way
to get rid of it is to spend as much time
for and with myself as it took
for me to get it and, yes and,
then I have to ask myself
if I have that much time left.

I mean, does a woman really get
to live as long as she needs to?

And if she doesn't, how does she live
with herself as she lives while she can,
fighting a battle against rage,
knowing she can never win
and knowing she has herself,
even if others come and go
and contribute their bits and pieces
here and there,
first and foremost
only herself, to blame.

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