Cincinnati Poetry Month Daily: How Girls Walk Through the Eye of a Needle by LaWanda Walters

I’ve grown to love the sonnet form over the last few years, a perfect pocket for holding those quarrels we have with ourselves (a definition of poetry offered by William Butler Yeats.) Here is a fine one by LaWanda Walters of North Avondale.

How Girls Walk Through the Eye of a Needle

The girls are getting slimmer now as if, perhaps,
to keep themselves from mothers’ fates.
They float in thin blouses above the fat plates,
their bodies forced like flowers into shape.
Not eating gives them a high window ledge
from which to contemplate life—an ascetic,
cloistered place. On the back pocket of jeans they like,
a tiny, red-inked Buddha smiles. “True Religion”
jeans are hard to get into, expensive and just
for the thinnest. I say, out loud, “it’s like binding feet,”
embarrassing my daughter. But I did think
of those rich-girl feet that could not walk right—
at night they’d unwind the binding and the stink
drove husbands wild. Girls turn to bone so love will last.
LaWanda Walters
—First published in Danse Macabre (Issue 79, May 2014)
—Reprinted in Light Is the Odalisque (Press 53, Silver Concho Poetry Series, 2016)

Join us for the Cincinnati Poetry Month Daily Project Reading on Wednesday, April 26, 7 pm at People’s Liberty, 1805 Elm Street, Over the Rhine

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Author: Pauletta Hansel

Pauletta Hansel is a poet, memorist, teacher and editor. On April 15, 2016 she was named Cincinnati's first Poet Laureate. Pauletta is author of five poetry collections, Tangle (Dos Madres Press, 2015), The Lives We Live in Houses (Wind Publications, 2011), What I Did There (Dos Madres Press, 2011), First Person (Dos Madres Press, 2007) and Divining (WovenWord Press, 2002). Her poetry has been featured recently in journals including Talisman, Now & Then: The Appalachian Magazine, Appalachian Journal, Atlanta Review, Postcards Poems and Prose and Still: The Journal, and anthologized in Listen Here: Women Writing in Appalachia; Motif: Come What May; and Motif: All the Livelong Day. Pauletta leads community poetry workshops and retreats in the Greater Cincinnati area and beyond, and has served as Writer-in Residence at Thomas More College in her native Kentucky. She is a co-editor of Pine Mountain Sand & Gravel, the literary publication of Southern Appalachian Writers Cooperative. Pauletta received her MFA from Queens University of Charlotte.

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