Monday, January 26, 2009


It starts at eleven,
stripped to the world,
eyes unveiled, set to please.
She is just beginning to feel herself
be something else nice and polite,
a shape shifter in her own skin.
A vacancy at the core
of only what a girl can know.

When fate offers its hand
she grabs on and goes for the ride
in a garden with nothing blooming.
Diminished in the mirror,
acid rain on her face,
scraping skin on the way to
a doubt only a woman knows.

She listens to the songs boiling
and bubbling out of her throat,
reaching out an imperfect arm,
pushed back in private,
melted down in public.
She must be cheerful
as only a woman can be.

Now she's driving her pink car
with a dozen tattooes.
Her primal scream brings relief
from the Kristallnacht in her chest.
She can't be enough of a daughter,
wife, friend, mother, lover.
Enough of all a woman must be.

Painting by Norman Rockwell


Diane said...


won said...

This spoke to me...

To that eleven year old girl buried somewhere in there.

To the woman who is now present.

To the eleven year daughter of mine in the next lifetime far away from momma's watchful eyes...


Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

I hate that loss of self so many girls go through. You've captured it perfectly.

Susan's Snippets said...

Diane - Awesome! I see my 18 year old daughter in there....with hope she skips a couple of the tattoos.

would bring me to boohoos

RachelW said...

So sad and powerful... I see myself there, and so many others.

As for daughters and tattoos, a few months ago, my little girl (who just turned 7) saw the artwork I was preparing for a bird on each of my shoulder blades, and she told me she wanted the same artwork on her own back. I told her she'd have to wait a few years... ;)

Leslie Waddell said...

Diane---You are incredible. It just keeps getting better and better.

Amy said...

You're my favorite poet, Diane.

Julie said...

Incredibly beautiful. You have captured the essence of the girl and the woman that reside in all women. And you have captured the experience we have when we go through those changes. Beautiful line breaths and imagery. I love it.

John Ettorre said...

Good god, woman. This hit me like a ton of bricks. I read it five times, more slowly each time, and got something new out of each reading. I think I'll share this with all the women in my life. You are a seriously talented poet, Diane.

Poetikat said...

"From the Kristallnacht in her chest" - Wow! What an image! I really enjoyed this piece.


Poetikat said...

P.S. I just perused your wonderful sidebar and love your dog, Stella for one, but I would like to direct you to my secondary blog (Blasts From the Past), where I recently posted a nostalgic piece about dolls. (My primary blog, Poetikat's Invisible Keepsakes is a poetry blog, in the main.)


Linda S. Socha said...

This so real , so true and so heartbreaking....the never ending expectations. Extremely well written ,......I expect from one who knows some of this from the inside out

FranIAm said...

After seeing today's post I came back here and am speechless...

Karen said...

I just discovered your blog from Rachel's recommendation. What a find! You have really touched on the female experience here --unfortunately. I love the correlated painting and the Sears ad, too. Excellent poem!