POETRY by Ashley Farmer
Women Relax (And Be Yourselves)
Passionate women relax in a hotel bedroom. Steaming women relax in a natural hot spring.
Pregnant women relax at a summer camp. Passive women relax in a dry sauna. Intimate women
relax in the bathroom with cigarettes. Stock women relax in a spa stock photo. In Rio de Janeiro,
women traveling on rush-hour trains find havens from harassment in single-sex cars and sun-beds.
In societies where women are oppressed and harassed, enjoy is what they say. Eventually women
relax is what they say. Be yourself: “When one tugs at a single thing in nature, she finds it.” Float
on the river with ease. Before that summer: I was at home in the world. My body my prize. I was
1. Did God really say you couldn't eat? From any tree?
2. Anna says she had a haunting feeling. Anna says her biggest fear is you only want her for her
3. A little part of me wanted. I wanted to ease the anxiety. I wanted a clause in the constitution.
4. Anna dreads getting back on the scales in January. Also aging. Also crime data.
5. I've already told you what it takes to get a girlfriend. Now I'm going to tell you how to keep
her: confront the danger women face. At the hands of the games, the stranger, the back cover, the
scales at Christmas, the examination, the specific victimizations, the rape, the serpent.
A season of phone screens. Magenta busts through a black sunset. These days, it is no wonder that
I wonder. Outside slow snow is the physical manifestation of mental distraction. Having dinner
home alone I seek to avoid a hangover and constant panic. No visits please, no time. Cleaning up
my life is a very personal issue. Am I so busy? Am I even moving? My mouth pushes words out
but what am I talking about. Snow in the dark. Some days there is just enough warmth to stay