Mincing onions, you say nothing
is so criminal in a woman as pettiness.
Pettiness: your nails a scarlet blur
over the cutting board, that shedding
of concern for family, all that believing
one's self is so important,
all that believing that one
has a self. 

There are hungry men beyond this
kitchen door, I don't need to be reminded. 
They are bound to us by rings and blood. 
You, now trussing poultry,
say a woman is like a door,
an entry, a way of guiding men
from one existence to another. 

There are moments when your eyes drop focus
and I'm convinced you're reliving past events,
scenes where you were knocked down just a little,
nick by nick whittled away.
Survival must have compelled you
to accept your lot with lust, a growing
preoccupation with trying to enlist others
towards the glory of your way,
recruiting more doors for your men to walk through
tall as redwoods.

There is something divine in the way you stand,
straight as wood, and sometimes I can see you
as you must see yourself:
a giantess in the forest, admitting men
to walk beneath the towering whiteness
of your thighs.  Knowing you could deny
passage if you wish, knowing you could crush them,
but holding back.

Theresa Boyar
THERESA BOYAR's writing has appeared in The Florida Review, Lynx Eye, and Red River Review, and she has poems forthcoming in Amarillo Bay, Artemis, Wicked Alice and Literary Potpourri. Additionally, she was a 1998 Pushcart Prize nominee and a finalist for this year's Katharine Anne Porter Prize in Fiction.  After moving more than twenty times in ten years, she has finally settled down and currently lives in Helena, Montana, with her husband and two sons.