Her Political Body

Excerpt from Her Political Body Published in The Rachham Review (1989)

A woman is in a bar, coming out of what is still called a ladies’ room. She is wearing sneakers, a white blouse, and a tweed skirt. There was a cartoon in the stall. The cartoon showed a pants-suit looking at a closet full of naked women on hangers. The woman finds herself wishing she had been born in Canada. She imagines her mother laboring on a narrow bed. The bed springs creak and the howling outside comes from wind and wolves. The woman sits at the bar. Under the glossy but scarred wooden counter, she parts her knees. She has what men call good legs, meaning when she parts her knees, her upper thighs go with them. The bartender asks what she wants to drink. She doesn’t know. The usual? he asks, winking. She nods, though she’s certain she’s never been here before. She begins to speculate on the bartender’s private life. She wonders what falling in love would be like after all this time: she imagines water pouring through a dam. She would like to imagine herself and a group of her friends kidnapping the bartender, just for fun, but first she would have to imagine a group of friends, and this would take more time than she has. The woman wonders what her fingers will be doing in an hour’s time. She shifts on her barstool, unsticking her good legs from the red vinyl. She waits for the future to occur to her.

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