Journalism in Verse – EST. 2016

A woman in a dress holds up an umbrella, her hair in her face, in this photograph.

Work It Like a Woman

in Identity by

             If they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair.
             Shirley Chisholm

When opportunity failed to arrive like a taxi,

I left home—
             a head of steam & unopened letters.

Took to haunting the clouded rooms
—English leather, dark oak
cigar smoke.

On stiletto heels, we could see
             the cards men held, the deck
             long ago stacked
             in the dealer’s favor.

Skirting around the board room,
             we forgot our places,
                          elbowed a seat. The table
             already set against us.

But I bury my lede as women often do,
             fashion a story—
                          charm becomes armor—

             We were armed. They were
                          disarmed.

             Our lilting voices disturbing

the papers piled on their desks, shuffling
             their order into mine.

 

________

Heidi Seaborn is author of 2020 PANK Book Award winner An Insomniac’s Slumber Party with Marilyn Monroe, the acclaimed debut Give a Girl Chaos and Comstock Chapbook 2020 Prize-winning Bite Marks. Heidi is Executive Editor of The Adroit Journal..

Photo by Christin Hume.

________

Biography: Shirley Chisholm
[National Women’s History Museum]

How do women feel about Women’s History Month? Conflicted.
[The New York Times]

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