By Gwyneth Lewis

I see you, great literary men, holding a party
Just beyond me. You are loving and greeting
Each other while I’m caught in the junk room
Of your misogynies: mahogany furniture
Shipped from crises on older continents,

Is blocking my way. Massive and polished,
They shine in the gloom, recalcitrant. Grand
Lyrical Men who tried to f*ck me
(You know who you are) I see you wave in
Those who you favour, leaving me pinned

To the wall by a linen press. Brass teeth,
Ferocious, snap at my nipples. An insistent caster
Sucks at my mouth, while a cabriole leg
Juts up my jacksie. Aggressive chattels
Of others’ unstated fears. What do you see In me so disgusts you? What has to be
Fucked then blotted out so that you
Can bear it? That you were babies once,
Helpless? That the world’s a bad breast, doesn’t
Obey? Or, horror of horrors, the will

Doesn’t work and power’s beside the point.
Grow up. This is your junk and I refuse it. From
My dead end, I see others in traps of ice
And iron, we wave at each other, we’re coming,
Your days are numbered. So will we project

Onto you, make you a hedgehog, pierced
By your furniture’s splintering? No.
Look, here’s my mother’s clothes horse,
What if we cover it with a blanket
Making a room where anyone may play,
And learn not being afraid together?

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