Poem in Which My Student Writes Me to Explain that There Are More of Him, that He Is Not the Only One Who Is Offended by Feminists

On the first day of class when he said I didn’t look
like a professor, specified that I was not a man
and not bald—I rolled my eyes in the way I have learned
not to say I have known his kind
since before he was born, have built a life in the glimpse
of eyelid I get to see instead of the face in front of me
saying, again, that my Ivy League graduate degree, two books,
litany of editorial mastheads, and three years teaching
college students (even some who knew how to weep
at beautiful sentences, some who could barely
breathe when we read Virginia Woolf aloud,
though some were more interested in Ultimate
Frisbee or the minimum number of seconds
they could spend writing and still get into med school),
that these things do not qualify me to teach topic sentences
and close reading skills to men like him. Maybe an eyeroll
is the closest I get to God most days,
to looking upward and inward amidst the awful drone
of the world. Some days I consider binding
my breasts and buzzing off my hair that I have loved
my entire life, how it might feel
to not be a Ma’am or a Miss for a day. But, no,
I will always be too small and in love
with my softness. I will always be this
quiet storm of blood pulled by the moon toward
the edge of myself. I will always be
shaking under the heavy beat of my heart arguing:
I am the brilliance of a brigade of daisies and barbed wire,
I can give life and won’t.


Stevie Edwards is the founder and editor-in-chief of Muzzle Magazine and senior editor in book development at YesYes Books. Her first book, Good Grief (Write Bloody, 2012), received the Independent Publisher Book Awards Bronze in Poetry and the Devil’s Kitchen Reading Award from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale. Her second book, Humanly, was released in 2015 by Small Doggies Press, and her chapbook, Sadness Workshop, is forthcoming from Button Poetry in January 2018. She has an M.F.A. in poetry from Cornell University and is a Ph.D. candidate in creative writing at University of North Texas. Her poetry is published and forthcoming in Indiana Review, Crazyhorse, TriQuarterly, Redivider, 32 Poems, The Journal, Rattle, Verse Daily, Pleiades, Ninth Letter, and elsewhere.