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Consorting With Angels

 I was tired of being a woman,
tired of the spoons and the post,
tired of my mouth and my breasts,
tired of the cosmetics and the silks.
There were still men who sat at my table, circled around the bowl I offered up.
The bowl was filled with purple grapes and the flies hovered in for the scent and even my father came with his white bone.
But I was tired of the gender things.
Last night I had a dream and I said to it.
"You are the answer.
You will outlive my husband and my father.
" In that dream there was a city made of chains where Joan was put to death in man's clothes and the nature of the angels went unexplained, no two made in the same species, one with a nose, one with an ear in its hand, one chewing a star and recording its orbit, each one like a poem obeying itself, performing God's functions, a people apart.
"You are the answer," I said, and entered, lying down on the gates of the city.
Then the chains were fastened around me and I lost my common gender and my final aspect.
Adam was on the left of me and Eve was on the right of me, both thoroughly inconsistent with the world of reason.
We wove our arms together and rode under the sun.
I was not a woman anymore, not one thing or the other.
O daughters of Jerusalem, the king has brought me into his chamber.
I am black and I am beautiful.
I've been opened and undressed.
I have no arms or legs.
I'm all one skin like a fish.
I'm no more a woman than Christ was a man.

Poem by Anne Sexton
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Book: Shattered Sighs