Womanhood, Sketch #2

 


589,999 per year, 49,166 per month, 11,346 per week,
1,616 per day, 67 per hour, 1 per minute
~ hysterectomy statistics, USA

why were there lesions
all over my mother’s
soft
pink
uterus?

and, why was the only answer
to take everything out?

why was my aunt’s uterus
taken out at 40
and my grandmother’s reproductive organs
taken out at 35?

i was told
she bled too much;
her womb
was hemorrhaging.

my father’s mother…
ovarian cancer…

why is this normal?

why do so many women
feel relief
when they know
that it’s all out?

get it OUT of there!

now.

well, maybe
they know
that cancer
likes to grow there…

in the soft skin
of what defines,

woman.

and maybe the surgeons
have conveniently forgotten,

woman.

she is where womb
creates life,
harnesses creative energy
and then spins it out
into reality
as if unfurling
the very
molten fire
that brews
at the center of this Earth…

all this,
from within the darkness…

giving life a chance —

again and again

a new beginning —

again and again

why did my mother
suffer from heavy bleeding
and intolerable pain, needing
the lining
of her uterus
to be scrapped
every few years?

why, i ask

did i have to leave work
one day
cross the street
that day
and throw up
on the way home
because the pain
from my own uterus
overwhelmed me?

i couldn’t get home
fast enough.

and in the hospitals —
they can’t do it
fast enough.

now, they have machines
that make small holes
in women’s bellies;

you
can
get
everything
out
in just
30 minutes,

everything that makes you woman —

(get it out.)

and what a relief
because the fear
of cancer
is palpable:
fibroids,
tumors,
abnormal growths…

a country swollen
on secret oaths
to an economy
that seems only to choke
our very own heart.

and the big question
for us is,
‘in what ways do I play a part?’

meanwhile,
she looks at the doctor
and asks, trembling:

is it benign or malignant?

the hospitals
they can’t keep up.
and, when they’re done —
they want you out.
a day or two,
that should do…
check the vital signs
and they’ll tell you
you’re fine.

in silence
this happens —

hospital gowns are thrown away
hospital doors are closing,
and she is returning home —
sore —
feeling her other organs
move around
as they settle
into their new
home.

the younger women
never know
until it’s too late.

the legacy
of mechanical surgery
as part of the woman’s
progression into
womanhood
is taking root
in our collective memory —

we won’t remember
that life can be any different.

we’ll accept the relief
from mechanical arms
without considering
that there will be others
who follow in our footsteps:

woman,
female,
daughter,
sister,
mother,
aunt,
grandmother,
wife,
girlfriend,
partner,
friend,
her…
feminine…
she…

what will we tell her
when she asks,

why me?

“PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) was…long associated with women (from the Greek, hystera, womb) and thought to originate in the uterus (hysteria).” ~ Nancy Venerable Raine, After Silence

October 10, 2010 — this poem is dedicated to all women as we explore the path of healing wounds and exploring our potential. May we all remember that there will be others. May we continue to ask ‘why!?’ and never settle for a half-ass answer or some numbed-out diatribe. May we do this with fierce compassion. Click here to read Womanhood, Sketch #1. For more information on whether your diagnosis is correct, consider contacting the HERS Foundation.

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3 thoughts on “Womanhood, Sketch #2

  1. >i m shocked (seeing the numbers), scared(facing the reality which could be valid owing to the situation but equally unacceptable too), moved (by how sensitively the poem is written) and last but not the least its got me thinking.However i am yet to conclude or judge.. but it has got me thinking……thanks …

  2. >Yes dear Kanchan! That's all I'm trying to do is express to get us 'thinking'! We are all in an evolution together to regain and embody our noble womanhood…

  3. Pingback: Womanhood, Sketch #4 | Madhupa Maypop

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