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Author: Melissa Carroll
Location: Tampa, Florida

diamond icon Melissa Carroll's work has appeared in Blood Lotus Journal, Splinter Generation, Barely South Review, Greatest Uncommon Denominator and Feile-Festa, among others. She is an editor for Sweet: A Literary Confection. Melissa recently received the Kite Trick Poetry Prize and the Estelle J. Zbar Award. She teaches yoga and is a stumbling seeker of enlightenment, where she's far from enlightened but having a beautiful time trying.

The Women of Burma

The Women of Burma

wear brass rings around their necks
slender, braced,
         steeped in stature.
Such is the nature of desire.

An ancient girl in Nanjing binds her feet
to fit into shoes made for a doll,
                  delicately deformed,
the hush of bone and blood
so she can be sexy.

A Victorian woman has one or two ribs
surgically removed for a tighter fitting corset.
                  (Who needs ribs, anyway.)
Her husband whispers darling
on the eve of the new moon.

The women of Camaroon pad their clothing in the hips
and butt to land a man.

Ethiopian women of the Mursi tribe wear lip plates,
mouths stretched around disks
                  like platypus beaks
a mark of what they're worth in cattle.

The women of North America slice their faces open,
peel back skin like almonds boiled in milk,
          thin, slimy, translucent
they cut their nipples open and insert bags of saline
they paint their faces, bleach their hair
they stick their fingers down their throats
          and they're beautiful.

ISSN 1941-0441

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