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Marge Piercy
Poem nominated by


I suppose I have different poems as friends at different times and this one resonated strongly, giving words to powerful feelings and the challenge of building shared understanding.”


Why does my life so often
feel like a slither of entrails
pouring from a wound in my belly?
With both my hands I grasp
my wet guts, trying to force
them back in.
Why does my life
so often feel like a wild
black lake under the midnight
thunder where I am drowning,
waves crashing over my face
as I try to breathe.
does my life feel like a war
I am fighting alone? Why are
you fighting me? Why aren’t
you with me? If I die this instant
will you be more content
with the morning news?
Will your coffee taste better?
I am not your fate. I am not your government.
I am not your FBI. I am not
even your mother, not your father
or your nightmare or your health.
I am not a fence, not a wall.
I am not the law or the actuarial tables
of your insurance broker. I am
a woman with my guts loose
in my hands, howling and it is not
because I committed hara-kiri.
I suggest either you cook me
or sew me back up. I suggest you walk
into my pain as into the breaking
waves of an ocean of blood, and either
we will both drown or we will
climb out together and walk away.