Moses chanted a song for the men; he would chant for them and they would answer him. And Miriam chanted a song for the women. —Rashi
We take our clothes off
differently depending on
who is watching. Myriam says,
Take everything off
below the waist.
She stands in the corner—
maroon scrubs, black bun
the exquisite contour
of her makeup.
Make a list
of sensations you haven’t experienced:
drowning, straining your voice to sing
for all women. Myriam lays me down
on white paper—talks to me
sweetly as I sweat. She spreads
the purple wax first
where thigh meets pelvis.
She coos, One two three – breathe
out. My nerves curve my spine—
eyes locked on the fluorescent ceiling.
Fall in love. She is no doctor,
No one needs
a full time artist,
Count the people
that have touched
your tampon string:
for now, it’s just me
She moves it gracefully
to get to the right places.
Body says, Love her. She has sung you
bare – the beginning of a wandering
[image credit: The dance of Miriam from The Golden Haggadah, artist unknown. ca 14th century. The British Library, London]