XX

XX:  No, not the rating
for porn flicks, or a row of kisses
on a love letter–
the chromosome that divides us
as a species into 2 rough halves.

I don’t want to say female,
I don’t want to say woman,
I want to use DNA,
which has no context beyond
its helices;

simple biological prompt to a body
that, if it lives long enough,
grows breasts & a place
for babies to build;
the matrix borrowed
from those XX bodies.

Made no better or worse than XY,
just a different kind of being;
inside a form that does not scatter eggs
on creek mud for fertilization,
but expressed in a body
that carries life, feeds
& nurtures it
when somehow

(it is a kind of magic,
birth;
though it is a violent
& bloody one)

what was once
connected
by that long rope of blood
pushes free & is named.

That somehow this XX
once encoded
marks its carrier vulnerable,
less valued,
but still property,
to be bought & sold,
traded;

sometimes stoned for saying no,
or, at times
for saying the wrong yes,

how the XX
body is at times
circumcised
to the point of death
for the sake of society,
or chastity, or beauty;

or how XX feet
were bound to an exact degree
of smallness, so they could never run
& barely walked in tiny steps,

& how those XX carriers
are not ruled by mind
but passion, unfit
to have a voice
that is taken seriously
is a global madness
transcending culture.

So, is it genetics
and landscape that define us,
or is it that damned apple
that made us both fall
that rules us?

Don’t forget
he tasted it, too
and knew the cost.

About Susan L Daniels

I am a firm believer that politics are personal, that faith is expressed through action, and that life is something that must be loved and lived authentically--or why bother with any of it?
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7 Responses to XX

  1. Jordan says:

    Have you ever read Aemilia Lanyer’s “Eve’s Apology in Defense of Women”? ( Apology did not mean apologizing in the 18th century) http://britlit1.pbworks.com/w/page/11449648/Eve's%20Apology%20in%20Defense%20of%20Women
    I think you might like it.

  2. Jordan–the link leads to nothing on you-tube now, unfortunately 🙂

    I’m going to have to dig up a copy, because it sounds like I’d enjoy reading it.

  3. I jumped on this song expecting to savour all the joys of adult revelations – double X!!! was I disappointed when I did not? no, because I got a double climax from reading the assault on our gendered society and feeling the voice of a poet who rails against sexism and patriarchy with all the might of her frame/voice and the great skills of her poetry! Great poem!

    • Thank you, Noel. Glad I did not disappoint you 🙂

      I tried to speak from the biological, the global perspective on femaleness and being female here. This poem was a reaction to the gender-based lunacy going on now in my country initially; but, we women of the US need to open our eyes and see the cost of being born female in other parts of this planet, where it means one might be disfigured, tortured, and killed simply by either doing what is expected of women, or by straying outside the lines of what is deemed acceptable.

      As an aside–when I shared this with my husband, all he said was– “You political little minx, you!” Missed the point entirely 🙂

      • reading XX prompted me to share my sad song on FGM. I was often asked how a male, and aging one at that, could so forcefully describe the pains of that horrible act! My answer was that solidarity with the oppressed can often provide startling insights!

        • Just commented on that one–thanks so much for sharing it. You are correct–as human beings, we can see suffering for what it is, describe and decry it–no matter our age or gender.

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