We Pass the Bechdel Test Every Day
Curtailed, contained, boundaried in a way we did not anticipate,
we find ourselves squeezed into an unmapped region that smells
of pumpkin. Travelers are advised to bring their own cinnamon,
ginger and cloves. Nutmeg is optional. I recommend it.
Half the guidebooks will tell you it’s flyover territory, the other half
say it’s a must-see. No one describes it, not really.
All the rivers run left, or west, towards dream, towards twilit shadows.
There is a common grammar to be learned. It trades mostly in silence.
Once there, you must learn to speak in signs and gestures, eyebrows
and lipstick. I have never mastered the language.
Do we ever come back? How can I tell you, except to say
seven of us, travelers, gather in a coffee shop to share our stories,
searching for ways to explain it, and one of us speaks of
nuns and orphans and AIDS in Haiti. Another describes a forest,
invisible, that’s guarded by shapeshifters. Someone encountered
Civil War amnesiac ghosts and the women they love. My friend
met a young woman from the Sixties who suffers from endometriosis
and Betty Friedan’s dangerous book. Someone I don’t know
befriended a psychic woman and was rescued by helicopters;
another stopped to aid a woman with multiple personalities and angels;
someone found themselves trapped in a post-apocolyptic
fantasy soap opera in three unknown acts and no way home.
Sarah Sadie is the author of the poetry collection Somewhere Piano (Mayapple Press, 2012) as well as the chapbooks Quiver (Red Dragonfly Press, 2009), Given These Magics (Finishing Line Press, 2010), and Do-It-Yourself Paper Airplanes (Five Oaks Press, 2015). The collection We Are Traveling Through Dark at Tremendous Speeds is forthcoming. She teaches at the Loft and the University of Iowa Summer Writing Festival and works with poets individually. She participated in Tupelo Press’s 30/30 poetry marathon in December 2015. Find her multimedia blog at sarahsadiesadiesarah.tumblr.com and follow her on Twitter @sarahsadie1313.
This poem appeared on the Tupelo 30/30 blog for December 2015 which, I can say as a fellow Tupelo 30/30 poet for December, does not necessarily constitute prior publication. So this poem is not previously published-ish.