“Harpies” : a poem for the Feminist Flash Contest 2011

Harpies

They are voluminous with scowls.
Bitter fat girls no one ever asked
to the prom, they shiver nightly
in single beds, proving like bread
until they are flour-soft,
pocked with salt, kneaded to the likeness
of their mothers.

These are the hapless,
untipped waitresses of the western world,
the reliable babysitters.
These are the gorgeous unwanted:
their uncharted galaxies of stretchmarks,
their deep green longing too saline
to be drunk.

Where are the men they were promised
would turn up to love them?
The whole of the past is shrunk to a lie
they hold in their mouths like a sour brown coin.
Remembering new Barbies: their crackling hair,
sad eyes. Their waists like impossible slivers,
terrible threats.

This is an entry for the Mookychick blogging competition, FEMINIST FLASH FICTION 2011. Enter now.
(An original, previously unpublished work by Claire Askew. (c)2011.)

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