I realized I was part machine, part primitive

The Human Figure in a Dress
Mary Jo Bang

Naked or not, I’m a costume that moves, figurine with a face that changes. You could call me a mood. I begin cheerful but sometimes turn solemn when confronted with my own mythology (wolf in a cape, cat scratch on a cupboard door, mouse tail in the hand of a bland farmer’s wife, a drop of blood on her shoe). Today’s beginning ended in a dream. In a fantastical bed, a lover leaned in to kiss me just as I realized I was part machine, part primitive urge. I left the bed and said, You know, don’t you, not everyone is so disposed. And then I heard from inside my head, You should say, not everyone is so disposed to your utopia. Only then did I realize I’d been inexact. Even here there are scolds that tell you how to be. Sometimes they live inside. Naked or not, I am trying to tuck my arms invisibly behind my back so that all you can see are my breasts and my highly simplified head.

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