Marge Piercy
Always Unsuitable (1969)

 

She wore little teeth of pearls around her neck.

 

They were grinning politely and evenly at me.

 

Unsuitable they smirked. It is true

 

 

 

I look a stuffed turkey in a suit. Breasts

5

too big for the silhouette. She knew

 

at once that we had sex, lots of it

 

 

 

as if I had strolled into her dining-room

 

in a dirty negligee smelling gamy

 

smelling fishy and sporting a strawberry

 

 

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on my neck. I could never charm

 

the mothers, although the fathers ogled

 

me. I was exactly what mothers had warned

 

 

 

their sons against. I was quicksand

 

I was trouble in the afternoon. I was

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the alley cat you don't bring home.

 

 

 

I was the dirty book you don't leave out

 

for your mother to see. I was the center-

 

fold you masturbate with then discard.

 

 

 

Where I came from, the nights I had wandered

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and survived, scared them, and where

 

I would go they never imagined.

 

 

 

Ah, what you wanted for your sons

 

were little ladies hatched from the eggs

 

of pearls like pink and silver lizards

 

 

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cool, well behaved and impervious

 

to desire and weather alike. Mostly

 

that's who they married and left.

 

 

 

Oh, mamas, I would have been your friend.

 

I would have cooked for you and held you.

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I might have rattled the windows

 

 

 

of your sorry marriages, but I would

 

have loved you better than you know

 

how to love yourselves, bitter sisters.