The trick requires separate compartments : several different women : perhaps
she is unduly flexible : a contortionist : extremely patient
Above the waist, she must be neuter: a minimizing bra or binder; a button-down
shirt with no gaping – no suggestion of burgeoning or tumescence; a jacket
with a least two buttons, preferably three (the key
is containment); any fitting, any feminine touch (a peplum, or bit
of lace) must be balanced by conservative neutrals:
grey, navy, black.
Below the waist, she must be all femme: a fitted skirt
that hits above the knee. Her legs exposed, shapely
and hairless. The legs must
hint at the way she clefts & clefts, how she will
cleave & cleave.
In some variations, there is more than one blade, serrated or dull. For instance, perhaps
the shoes – always high-heeled, pointy toed – are also
For instance, in some iterations, members of the audience are invited
to wrap ropes around her arms, legs or neck, and hold tight. The “Wakeling Variation”
utilizes a collar around her neck, weighted with heavy chain.
For a woman to maintain her bodily integrity
has always been a parlor trick. In boardrooms, conferences,
statehouses, a smattering
of polite applause for her, thunderous
for the man who points & flourishes, who wields
the tool, who holds out his hand to gingerly
assist her back to her feet.
C. Kubasta is the author the chapbooks, A Lovely Box and &s, the full-length collections, All Beautiful & Useless,and most recently Of Covenants (poetry, Whitepoint Press) and Girling (a novella, Brain Mill Press). She is active with the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets, coordinates the Lake Reading Series at the Thelma Sadoff Center for the Arts, and serves as Assistant Poetry editor with Brain Mill Press. Her work explores place (the Midwest), the body (our imperfect perfect flesh), and language (its slippages). Find her at www.ckubasta.com. Follow her @CKubastathePoet.