SWWIM publishes, celebrates, & promotes women, women-identifying & Femme-presenting writers through a Miami-based reading series & the online poetry journal SWWIM Every Day.

Live Trap by Letitia Montgomery-Rodgers

1

Sex is in the brain; I’ve been training

mine for so long. Please don’t fail me now.

 

2

The sutures move,

pull loose and tight,

each stitch a closet

in the garment, a room

within a room.

 

3

Doctors make you beg

for the comfort of your own body.

They tell me my vagina has integrity

neither foreshortened

nor shallow, its walls intact.

As apparatus goes, there’s nothing

I lack. What their excises have decreed

let no woman question.

 

4

Ordinary motion presses

against the scar, life

a big toe stretching

and pulling the darn.

My stomach puckers,

pantyhose skin center-

seamed. By reflex, I reach

to take it off and realize

I’m already naked, belly

button to pubic bone.

 

5

Fifteen to thirty minutes

of visualizing—face under a pillow,

seam-side down, my partner rubbing

rubbing—and still

I catch no charge.

 

6

After so much probing,

mental inquiry:

If I am the sock monkey,

who’s my puppeteer?

 

7

When I finally orgasm, I think

I’ve escaped, and my body lifts

a finger.


Letitia Montgomery-Rodgers’ poetry has been published in Gemini, The Missing Slate, The New Poet, Gulf Stream, and IthacaLit, among others. Her work has been shortlisted for the Bridport Prize in Flash Fiction and was a semifinalist in the 2015 Crab Orchard Series in Poetry First Book Award and the 2016 Philip Levine Prize for Poetry. A native of Pennsylvania, she currently resides in Buckingham, Virginia.

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