Poem of the Week: "a woman's place" by Denice Frohman

a woman’s place

i heard a woman becomes herself
the first time she speaks
without permission

then, every word out of her mouth
a riot

say, beautiful
& point to the map of your body
say, brave
& wear your skin like a gown or a suit
say, hero
& cast yourself in the lead role


when a girl pronounces her own name
there is glory

when a woman tells her own story
she lives forever

all the women i know are perennials—
marigolds, daffodils
soft things that refuse to die

i don’t come from anything tamed or willing
i come from soil flossed with barbed wire

meaning, abuela would cuss you out
with the same breath       she kissed

you with       her blood
a wild river

my mother         doesn’t rely on instruction manuals
or men                 nor does she equate the two

can fix anything
if you get out of her way

says the best technology
is her own two hands


but once, i dreamed    i had no teeth
just a mouth                                to hold
other people’s                              things

if this poem is the only things that survives

tell them i grew a new tongue
tell them i built me a throne

tell them when we discovered life on another planet
it was a woman
& she built a bridge, not a border

got god & named gravity
after herself.

Copyright © 2018 by Denice Frohman, “a woman’s place,” from Women of Resistance: Poems for a New Feminism, (OR Books, 2018).


Published by cpoetrymsu

The Center for Poetry opened in the fall of 2007 to encourage the reading, writing, and discussion of poetry and to create an awareness of the place and power of poetry in our everyday lives. We think about this in a number of ways, including through readings, shows, community outreach, and workshops. We are at work building a poetry community at MSU and in the greater Lansing area. Contact: cpoetry@msu.edu (517) 884-1932 http://www.poetry.rcah.msu.edu

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