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?
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
Three Poems in Peacock Journal (28 April 2017)