Atlas As Woman


The barista calls me ma’am 
because I am makeupless—the pink 
of my Polish skin and the South’s
sun spots pocking my cheeks—
and my wide hips are in yoga pants
on a Wednesday, mid-morning. 
I easily ask about milk alternatives

	because I have learned 
	the language of passing
	for calm and unconcerned 
	with guns.

I keep signing petitions 
online with an email address, 
	not with the pressure 
	of my name. 


I try to count the women
who’ve shared their prescriptions— 

	turn off the news. Do not think
	outside yourself for a while. 

I can hear the echo of fainting
couches and yellow wallpaper. 


All day, all night
the body intervenes. 
	I keep holding guilt
	in my mouth, regardless. 


No one wants to be Atlas, 
but we all want 
	the body,
	the name. 

3 thoughts on “Atlas As Woman

  1. These lines: “I can hear the echo of fainting / couches and yellow wallpaper.”

    This poem, to me, distills a tension between the news cycle and a tension between wanting to opt out. It’s difficult to know how to contribute or to help in one discreet way without taking on the entire world.

    Thanks, Hannah! I love reading your work.


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