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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 9: August 2021
Poem: 284 words
By Diane Lee Moomey


Microcosm: a small women’s care facility in
mid-Seventies Toronto
Oh, more than once and more than twice in that 
enormous house we called a nursing home—
when nursing home was still okay to say—
on entering a bedroom I would see 
its occupant, a woman—always woman—
in a bedside chair, her feet up on the seat, 
her knees drawn up and spread apart, the nude 
pudendum blossoming before me. She’d 
be sitting squarely to the door, so all 
who entered would be sure to see. And she’d 
be staring at the floor before her, unresponsive, 
as they say. I’d asked the aides. “We dress 
her right, she take her panties off again. 
We leave her be. She’s very near her time.” 
In days to come, she’d leave her meat behind. 

Seen more than once and more than twice in this 
abode of lady inmates, tethered here 
for safety and for benefit of those who’re keen 
to keep the peccadillos of the dying 
out of sight: the flesh display, by ladies English 
and Scottish, Irish; by ladies well beyond 
a certain age; past pre-war girlhoods, who spread 
their legs, if ever, only in the dark 
and did not speak the name of that which dwelt 
between them. Vulva. Vagina. The Nether Regions. 
The Glory Hole. Lady parts. Box. Cunt. Beaver. 

Yes, more than once and more than twice, and once 
alone with Violet in her room, the naked 
labia, majora and minora, well 
and truly visible in brown and pink, 
I’d whispered, “Why?” She’d raised her head, looked deep 
into my eyes, said nothing, and indeed 
what more had anyone to say—or see—
except the erstwhile cloistered quim set free? 


Diane Lee Moomey
Issue 9, August 2021

is a painter and poet living in Half Moon Bay, California, where she is co-host of the monthly Coastside Poetry. Her work has appeared in Light, THINK, PoetryMagazine.com, Mezzo Cammin, Caesura, and others. She has won prizes for her sonnets in the Ina Coolbrith Circle and in the Soul Making Keats Literary Contests.

Author’s website: https://dianeleemoomeyart.com/art-portal

More on the Web: By, About, and Beyond

Three Poems in Peacock Journal (28 April 2017)

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