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Saturday, February 18, 2012


by Joan Mazza

In Somalia, a small girl sits on a dirt floor,
curls her body, knees to chin under her skirt
to make herself smaller, invisible. Her eyes
are squeezed shut against footsteps coming.
Will it never stop?

A girl in Kenya waits to be called.
Anticipating, her body trembles against
rough cut of the blade that will tear away
the pleasure parts that make women stray.
She will endure, like all the women she knows.
Nothing for pain. Infection guaranteed.

Inside her home, a girl in India can hide
her scarred face. Her mother was whipped
for teaching her daughter to read, sending
her to school. She will never read again.
No one will marry her because she isn’t
beautiful. The acid blinded her.

And you, American girl, slim Virginia girl?
You think you’ve come a long way, baby?
The birth control you use was outlawed today.
Fertilized eggs are persons of greater value
than you. You were raped by a date?
a stranger? your father? Too bad for you.
What were you wearing?

You will have that baby. In the future,
all unwanted, neglected children will have
food and housing. In prisons. Start building.

Virginia women? Your husband’s taking
Viagra and won’t use a condom? You’re
pregnant again? Too bad. You’ll have
an ultrasound, internal probe if necessary.
You can’t refuse. It’s the law. Don’t call it rape.

Worried about terrorists? Look at your House
of Delegates. They work hard to keep you
from loving your life. Forget liberty, the pursuit
of happiness. They call it God’s Will.

Joan Mazza is an author, poet, and speaker. She has worked as a medical microbiologist, psychotherapist, writing coach, certified sex therapist, and medical microbiologist, has appeared on radio and TV as a dream specialist and led personal growth workshops. She is the author of six books, including Dreaming Your Real Self (Perigee/Penguin/Putnam). Her work has appeared in many publications, including Kestrel, Slipstream, Stone’s Throw, Writer's Digest, Playgirl, and Writer's Journal. She now writes poetry and does fabric art in rural central Virginia.