Sunday, June 03, 2018

The Sunday Poet: Heather Nelson

Poet Heather Nelson

 Heather Nelson is a poet, teacher, mother and recovering attorney based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She studied writing under the poet C.D. Wright as an undergraduate at Brown University. Most recently she studied poetry with Tom Daley and Barbara Helfgott Hyett. Heather is also a member of Poemworks, the workshop for publishing poets. Her work has been published in Main Street Rag, The Somerville Times, Constellations, Ekphrastic and The Compassion Anthology.

On the slim wooden shaft of the women’s room key is a query, in black Sharpie.  Do you identify as female? Literal me, I take all questions seriously, I examine the evidence.  The swelling prow of my chest as I thread my way between the coffee shop tables certainly broadcasts a woman’s body. As I resume my scone, I look out across the tables at all the other solitudes. Is what they see female?  I’m not looking at myself most of the time. I’m not shopping, I’m not dieting, I’m not waxing. I’m not waiting to be asked. I’m feeding my hunger. I live in this soft and solid house, we’re incorporated, this body and I.  I’m 49 and full of questions and desire. As we age, does sex fade or intensify? If my gender’s fluid, could it overflow and lap at the feet of the beautiful barista boys? That would be hot, but it wouldn’t be pretty. Everyone likes to look, but no one really wants to be touched.   Midlife is a second childhood, equally turbulent, but less endearing. If we’re flirting, it’s with ourselves, stretching in front of our mirror.
Resilience means:
opening a mental door,
keeping it ajar.

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