Mother dismantled my argument
to go braless,
twisting her lips, distrusting the story.
Why would a woman burn
a perfectly good brassiere?
And if a woman wanted to be Miss America
shouldn’t it be within her power
She wondered if I got my facts straight.
"You will thank me one day,"
standing at the stove in her nightgown,
sauteing Hawaiian meatballs
for a pool party.
Disappointment like the stomach flu
thumbed the soft underside
of my jaw,
cruising in the backseats of cars with my two
best friends in their halter tops
and fringe. The catapult of breasts
as we ran around the car in a
Chinese fire drill,
another phrase with a story problem.
We didn't know exactly
who we might like,
so kissed each boy goodnight.
I stood on tiptoe. Boys tilting their chins,
fanning their eyelashes,
holding their breath to make their chests broader,
less excited by the night air and the extra
between my breasts and me.
When I got home
women were changing
in my bedroom.
Mothers of my friends, auxiliary women,
women like mother
who were not bra burners,
but would like to surprise their partners
themselves with what might be possible
if only they were unencumbered by
skewed facts. A neighbor woman
toweled off, bending from the waist,
her pendulous breasts
hanging gruesomely to the floor.
Mother could be right
There was no arguing with gravity.
© Tori Grant Welhouse