Another Chicago Magazine

A Bisecting

Past, by Joyce Polance

It is difficult to say
what it is that troubles
me most these days.
I have lost an old
friend. Shame runs
charcoal-dark from
my throat to my navel.
A bisecting: two halves
no longer making whole.

A hole at the center –
the thing which I fear
to give name. I am all
cliché in this moment,
woman without words,
a vessel holding empty
space. Hands upon my
body, a language I can
understand. It speaks

to me, the flesh. What
does it mean to be a
woman other than to
carry someone else’s
pain? I am little but a
figure in the doorway:
please, look upon me.
Give me a shape that
I can call my frame.