Writers' Corner

Stephanie Brown

2001 Poetry

Author's Statement

I am honored to have been selected for a Literature Fellowship. My highest ambition is to produce work during the next two years that will enrich the nation's literary life. I am eager to do the work.

Feminine Intuition

I. Little Red Riding Hood

Astrid comes from upstate New York.
She comes from distress.
She's enthusiastic about it.
She doesn't belong, but she tries hard.
Her husband hurts her, but they have a drug-free life.
They roller skate and take up fads enthusiastically,
Neon clothing and the like.
He's an air traffic controller, so they move constantly.
This time it's California. After the picnic
I said, "She reminds me of Little Red Riding Hood."
My husband said, "Yeah."
We were doing the dishes.
I can't say some other things, so I say this.


II. Plastic Surgery, Skipped Dessert

That simple woman thought I was simple, but I was not.
I was never simple.
Not trees, stars, plot.
She smoked her fingers down to the yellow.
She had the harsh hearty laughter
Of the women who believe the men will leave them.
All the mothers I knew went nuts.
Hair the color of a screwdriver.
It's a clichþ, but it's an altar.
Cotton candy spun into a knot.
Especially rich women, with art.
Kimono, muumuu.
Ice cubes.
But I was never simple. I was never simple.
The way I was raised, the men never leave a woman.
She was a woman: I could not trust her.


III. A Woman Clothed with the Sun

Imagine, all over America, women are losing bone mass.

Brittle old ladies: we create them.
Coiffured movie sirens lounging around the pool transmogrify
into brittle old sea hags.
(They don't know anything: they just nag.)
Let's let them swim out to sea.
Let's give them a spiny seahorse to ride on.
"Good-bye brittle old ladies, beautiful ones-
Ride out against the horizon and the orange sun!"

Real Audio"Feminine Intuition" read by the author