Maura Alia Bramkamp

When I Was Thin

I bought new lace
underwear by the handful,
push-up bras, sheer hose, red
high heels, tight skirts, enjoyed
the feeling of insubstantial skin held
fast, belts pulled taut against gravity.

When I was thin
men pressed close, followed me home
after dark, pushed their numbers into my
pockets in bright cafes, addressed my legs
as separate entities, my breasts as whole
worlds unconquered, pleaded for entry.

When I was thin
I waited to be found out: female impersonator,
double-agent bent on revenge against
the men who once found my flesh obscene, my hair
too thick, my teeth too straight, men afraid
I'd bite them down to size.

When I was thin
I couldn't fight the press
of foreign flesh, unwanted hands
against me, my own hands divided: one hand up,
deflecting blows, the other beckoning, cupped
in the curve of budding breast. I slept
with the light on; when I was thin
I had no rest.

Copyright 1995, Maura Alia Bramkamp

Maura Alia Bramkamp, editor of Paper Boat, has had her poetry appear in the Haight
Ashbury Literary Journal, The Healing Woman, Exhibition
, and other journals. Her first
chapbook, Resculpting, was released in September 1995 and is available at bookstores
and through Pacific Pipeline.