Thursday, May 25, 2006

For the Women in My Daughter's Class

Dear Marilyn Kallet,

I attended a reading that you sponsored for the aspiring poets in one of your poetry classes. I came, for I love poetry. I came, for I love my daughter and she was in your class, ready to read her work. I enjoyed.

I think I had read my daughter's work prior to the event. I don't quite remember which of her many poems she read that evening. I do remember the work of some of the other women though, for they caused me to think and to wonder and to write my own poem.

For the Women in My Daughter’s Class

I’m fifty years old and I’ve only had sex with one man in my life.
I suppose that sounds naïve to those of you who, at twenty-one
Think of your lovers in a row, or judging from your readings,
In a line-up.

I’m fifty years old and the one man in my life can make me rage.
But not because, after telling me he loved me (or not), he left,
But because he spits his toothpaste in the sink or on the mirror
And never rinses.

I’m fifty years old and could be convinced by you or my own imaginings
That a life of multiple lovers makes lovemaking hotter
And orgasm vitally anticipated, poignant, and quick.
Does that cover it?

And a life of practiced monogamy, me, knowing him, him, knowing me,
Me, sure, him, sure, me, loved, him, loved,
Could be less, I can see, because I’ve propensities too.
But I don’t know, for I’m fifty years old and I’ve only had sex with one man.



Anne G G said...

As Will Smith so aptly puts it, monogamy is a monoga-must.

It's strange to read about your mother's sex life, and also strange to realize you're following in her moral footsteps, surprised at how surprised everyone is that you've only had sex with one man.


brd said...

Our society seems to have considered monogamy to be a good joke for so long, that I'm not sure there exists, in the broad society, any discussion of it at all, except as a punch line. Here I am, a radical feminist who takes monogamy seriously because I take my husband seriously. I take respect for the feelings and worth of one special human being seriously. Somehow I feel that monogamy demands, at least, a representative in the public forum.

Anne G G said...

A friend of mine said to me recently, about someone else, "She's like, really religious, you know, like she's going to wait to have sex until marriage," and then, realizing that she knew I was "religious", she said, "Well, I mean, maybe you did too." And I said, "I did," and then she said, suddenly and in a totally different, genuine-sounding tone, "That's so great! I wish I had done that!" I didn't know what to make of it, really.