Liberating Words: “Space”

4775239431_9561f28cd6_zThe poems contained in this series, “Liberating Words,” came out of an interdisciplinary course for high school juniors at The Winsor School, an all-girls school in Boston. The course, “The Personal Is Political:  An Interdisciplinary Look at Feminism,” is co-taught by Libby Parsley, a history teacher, and Susanna Ryan, an English teacher. The second unit of the course focuses on the history and literature of second-wave feminism: the women’s liberation movement of the 1960s and ’70s. Students read a compilation of poems by women writers from that period and then wrote their own poems; the assignment asked them to represent an issue or problem they see as central to 21st-century women’s experience through the very personal genre of poetry.

Space

By Christina Bulkeley

Me
Everything is small
Slender
My pants
Don’t have pockets big enough to hold
A cell phone
My wallet
Is too slim,
Too delicate for more than
A few bills or for
A condom
And so I’m reliant upon you.
Polished, delicate, sleek.
Everything must be perfectly shaped,
Dainty, fragile,
Beautiful.

You
With cargo pants
And a thick and
Bulging wallet,
You can carry everything you need.
You have what you want.
And your words are so loud
And your “yes” drowns out my “no”
While all the girls with their little purses
Pretend they don’t see
What you are doing.
And so you get what you want
And I leave quietly
Without a fuss
Struggling to hold whatever I have left
But you have taken it all
And it’s yours now
Everything is yours
I guess that’s what those big
Pockets you have are for.

And so I carry
Little.
And I am
Limited.

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Photo courtesy of Flickr user Rocky Chang licensed under Creative Commons 2.0

Christina Bulkeley is a junior at the Winsor School in Boston who likes baking, watching Law and Order reruns and rooting avidly for the Boston Red Sox. She dreams of one day being the general manager of a Major League Baseball team, and her mother wants her to mention that she loves her parents.

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