Goddesses Incognito

Underneath

the drab,

the daily,

we are passionate goddesses parading in

spangles

glinting jewels

shimmering cloth

that mirror our enticing hips.

Underneath ragged watchcaps,

we are tender goddesses

crowned in

headwraps

tiaras

mantillas

bandanas

that accentuate our nobility.

Underneath blowsy t-shirts,

blazing ads in giant orange letters scrawled across our chests,

we are opulent goddesses wrapped in a splendor of

plaids

kente

batik —

rich in colors that males

don’t even know the names

much less the significance of.

Behind plastic face masks that claim to guard us from infection,

we are amusing goddesses

roaring out the music of joy

harmonies of silver giggles

cymbal crashes of belly laughs

organ peal guffaws

in happy certainty of our right to

pleasure given,

pleasure taken.

We are hidden where you expect us least.

Show us due homage

and we may flash you a glimpse

into our hidden realm.

Or we may not.

The unexpected entices goddesses

most of all.

 

Map

My hand

gripped into yours

seeks a pathway to your heart

searches through the veiny runs

joys intermingling at the rip

fourth finger-traced.

 

Susan Meehan is the author of Talking to the Night (2017), and Goddesses Incognito (2018), and was the winner of the DC Poet Project in 2017, an open competition created to surface new poetic voices. Poetry is Susan’s second, or third career. She recently completed a career in local government service, first as Mayor Marion Barry’s constituent service director for Ward Two and subsequently as D.C.’s first Patient Advocate, providing services to the city’s drug and alcohol addicts. Now retired, she remains active in local politics with her husband of more than fifty years.

Image of Proserpine by Dante Gabriel Rossetti – EAH009jkJzYVMw at Google Cultural Institute, zoom level maximum Tate Images (http://www.tate-images.com/results.asp?image=N05064&wwwflag=3&imagepos=1), Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=13458627

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