What if we women were anglerfish, our lures
springing from our foreheads, an irresistible
lighthouse of hunger, our giant-toothed jaws
so unhinged we could swallow prey twice our size?
What if our men were small, unable to feed
on their own, equipped with little more
than a powerful nose with which to find us,
starving to death if they don’t? When they find us
and bite into our sides, what if they were
to dissolve like angler males, becoming
an ever-ready portable sperm factory
hanging off us, of which we might carry six?
No more forest of barstools to hack through
on a Friday night, hoping to meet a kind
baboon in a clearing. No more detention
at the checkpoint for no good reason, no more
booze poured in our eyes, nose, mouth, vagina,
no more army boots to the head, no more
gun-barrel rapes, no more running naked
down the street begging for help from people
who blame us for our blood-streaked thighs.
Marie-Elizabeth Mali is the author of Steady, My Gaze (Tebot Bach, 2011) and serves as co-curator for louderARTS: the Reading Series and the Page Meets Stage reading series, both in New York City. Her work has appeared in Calyx, Poet Lore, and RATTLE, among others.