Tuesday, May 3, 2011

"Birdcage Thighs"
by guest poet Jane Wyatt

I was pushed out of the womb of a woman

with legs small and thin.

I was rocked in my cradle at night by

two hands with slender lady fingers

and long red nails.

I suckled the breast of She whose breasts

were large and soft.

I was raised by a lady fair—midnight

in her hair

and ornaments

in her eyes.

I was pushed toward the bowl

to feed myself when hunger came.

I was thrust toward a table's fare, with the

cheese and the loaves, the knife so hot

the butter melted down

the yeasty bread—doughy to match my growing

thighs and widening hips. My breasts

made mountains of themselves and my eyes

grew wide at the thought of the bowl—

the bowl from which I fed.

I grew from child to Me overnight,

my tongue forever dipped

in tastes I wanted to forget.

I was called thunder thighs by boys in school—

the same boys who wanted my thighs wrapped

'round their bird-frame waists—like cages.

I was laughed at for my breasts by girls

who wanted them on their own chests.

I was dressed in women's clothing

by age fourteen, and my woman shape filled out every

line—my body bled out of its lines

like a child's coloring, and filled the folds

to make a young woman.

My hips grew round and legs grew strong,

and I was called fat by those who

grazed on callous words—I devoured my pain

with a side of fries.

I had a large nose and large eyes—

large breasts and the loins to match. Large

woman to tempt the little bird boys into her

cage and to make them feel her heavy thighs tighten

'round their waists, choking their breath out till

they fell on her in defeat.

No more, they cried.

No more of that. Let me go find a bird-boned

girl to twist and creak her bird-bone legs 'round

my waist, so I can heave in and out while she rasps my name.

No more—they couldn't hear my thick woman whispers and feel

the sway of my hips and the beat of my step.

They wanted their cages breakable,

so they could escape easier from the bird-boned women too weak

to hold them tight and ruffle their feathers.

JANE WYATT is a thirty-year-old creative writing major at Western Kentucky University. She writes a column called "Bluegrass Beat" for Down Home in the Barrens, a magazine based in her hometown, and has just discovered that poetry and memoir are her two favorite genres. She claims to have struggled with her body image all of her life. Wyatt lives in Glasgow, Kentucky with her children, Max (6) and Sophie (5).


  1. Thank you for this, Molly!

  2. Wow. I am amazed and humbled.