(You can view Sage’s painting “I Walk Without Echo” here)
On “I Walk Without Echo” by Kay Sage
To be a woman is to be caustic
with no power. To instigate
but not to burn. A bellyless earthquake,
a doctor’s bill that goes on and on.
They say we were made second.
Helpmate, companion, never the main
story. A plot point in a chapter
about blood. We go back,
the feminine parts of ourselves,
fetus Matryoshka dolls.
My mother said I looked like one
as a baby. I thought she meant I was
one. I learned in an encyclopedia
I was right. My mother was in utero
with ova. An ovum became half
of me. I’ve still got most my eggs.
To be second but half already there
and while carrying half of the next feels
like a mathematical anomaly,
the kind that would fill a volume.
I sat holding up my dress, bent into three
points: head, knees, one between. Lips
out like shellfish. I want to walk
without echo. I wait on a porcelain ear.
I picture it—perfectly round O’s
of red. Such a bright color in the dark.
I will it: I walk without echo.
Bleed, damn you.
About the Author: Nadia Arioli (nee Wolnisty) is the founder and editor in chief of Thimble Literary Magazine. Their work has appeared or is forthcoming in Spry, SWWIM, Apogee, Penn Review, McNeese Review, Kissing Dynamite, Bateau, Heavy Feather Review, Whale Road Review, SOFTBLOW, and others. They have chapbooks from Cringe-Worthy Poetry Collective, Dancing Girl Press, and a full-length from Spartan.